Conversation on Justice and Past Violations Must Start: NTJWG
The National Transitional Justice Working Group (NTJWG) has launched a website that will allow Zimbabweans to report violence as it unfolds.
Speaking in an interview with Newsday, Otto Saki a member of the working group said Zimbabweans have to come together at some point and get to the bottom of the undesirable things that happened in the past.
The NTJWG is a platform established by various transitional justice stakeholders to provide interface between stakeholders and official transitional justice processes like the establishment of the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission. The group launched its website which they said is a tool for Zimbabweans to engage in a national conversation about transitional justice. Saki who serves the NTJWG as an independent expert said the website has some special features which allows Zimbabweans to be actively involved in the search for solutions in Zimbabwe’s legacy of human rights violations.
The two year old Zimbabwean constitution provides for the NPRC for the purpose of ensuring post-conflict justice, healing and reconciliation. However, the NPRC which has a ten year mandate has lost two years, with no sign when the commission will be established. NTJWG said their online platforms will provide Zimbabweans the space to get involved in transitional justice processes and share experiences and ideas with each other.
Saki who launched the website Wednesday told Newsday, ” the NTJWG’s aim is to create a space for coordination of transitional justice stakeholders, sharing of experiences and building of synergies for comprehensive, accountable, victim-centred and participatory justice processes in Zimbabwe.”
The Violence Monitor is one of the features of the website. Saki said the tool offers Zimbabweans the opportunity to monitor and report violence. “The website has a violence monitor tool that will allow Zimbabweans who witness human rights violations to make a report even anonymously if they so wish. When a report is made, it appears on the map in green while the group verifies with its stakeholders and when verified it will turn red,’ he said.
Saki told Newsday other features on the website are the NPRC Watch, that will track the progress relating to the NPRC, a Conference Room that will allow Zimbabweans to access proceedings when transitional justice stakeholders meet and an Information Centre that allows stakeholders from various organisations to document the transitional justice journey of Zimbabwe and share their stories.
“The question that we intend to address is the voice of the ordinary person in this highly misunderstood, and politicised discourse and give low cost opportunity for everyone, who all have a story to tell to either share or learn in fast and secure settings. Not all individuals are able to attend consultations the usual format that we are used to, we intend to create an opportunity for anyone, anywhere, who find themselves with an interest to comment, participate, engage in issues about transitional justice to do so at any time of the day,” Saki said.
He added that while internet access in Zimbabwe had increased it had not been used as a tool for national cohesion, healing, reconciliation and crafting a sustainable Zimbabwe. “We want to encourage a culture of respectful but frank conversations about our past, present and future, what other platform to do so other than an interactive website,” Saki said
Father Fradereck Chiromba, a member of the group responsible for the thematic are of Promotion of Truth said the group will also hold a Stakeholders Conference on Transitional Justice Principles before the end of the month to lay the foundation for transitional justice policy and processes in Zimbabwe
“We are going to hold a conference which will bring together all stakeholders working in the different areas of transitional justice to discuss and agree on the fundamental principles that must guide the transitional justice process in Zimbabwe,” he said.