The Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum (the Forum) welcomes, with cautious optimism, the signing of the “historic” power sharing agreement between ZANU (PF) and the two MDC formations. It is our sincere hope that this agreement will usher in new era of social and economic resurgence, political stability, respect for the rule of law and fundamental rights.
The Forum recognizes that any brokered deal is a compromise arrangement that circumvents the popular will but we believe that the signing of the negotiated powersharing deal is a good first step towards the process of nation building. The Forum remains adamant that such a process should have the pursuit of truth, justice and national healing
as its foundation. The human rights violations that have occurred in the past cannot go without redress. As concluded by civil society participants to the workshop on transitional justice organized by the Forum from the 9th-10th September 2008, the “new Government” should endeavor to establish a transitional justice process that embodies the following fundamental principles: victim – centered; comprehensive, inclusive, consultative participation of all stakeholders, particularly the victims; the establishment of the truth; acknowledgment; justice, compensation and reparations; national healing and reconciliation; non-repetition (never again); gender sensitive; transparency and accountability, and nation building and reintegration.
The Forum is encouraged by several provisions in the agreement that allude to the need for justice and redress for all politically motivated violence and the need for national healing and cohesion. It is our hope that the spirit and letter of the agreement will be translated into policy and practice. The rhetoric of the agreement should now be backed by a
concrete action plan that will ultimately result in a new Zimbabwe that has the respect for democracy and human rights as its underpinning values. The will of the Zimbabwean people should never again be circumvented for a political agreement or settlement. The Forum therefore urges the new Government to embrace the hopes and aspirations of
the people of Zimbabwe and work diligently towards a process of economic, socio-political transformation that has as its foundation in truth, justice, and national healing.