Reconciliation, Justice and Renewal
A nation is a people with a shared vision, values, and principles. A civilised people among whom there is consensus on the meaning of life. In this modern world, a nation must have a territory with clearly defined political boundaries and a shared system of governance, wealth creation, and public service.
Such was the case with Rhodesia with its limited democratic system which was confined largely to the white segment of society. The rest of Rhodesia was characterized by diverse ethnic Bantu cultural norms and practices. These Bantu settlements did not have any democratic values or principles. They were and remain patriarchal in nature.
The concept of a modern state with all its supporting institutions and systems which had been created and established by the Rhodesians was foreign to the Bantu. However, despite this reality, the Bantu demanded and obtained total transfer of power at Independence. We went on to adopt and preside over the Rhodesian state system without any knowledge of how it was created and maintained. What followed was obvious and now history.
While, evidently, there will not be a single magical answer to our current predicament as a State and Republic, there are a number of key elements/variables that can be identified as the root causes of Zimbabwe’s failure and disintegration. These include;
- Zimbabwe’s long history of conflict and contestation which presents today in the form of political violence and intolerance and which has largely produced a fearful, traumatized and retrogressive society;
- Zimbabwe’s lack since Independence, of a comprehensive strategy to merge the British White settler culture of democracy and public administration with the Bantu Hierarchical Chieftain and Village headman culture;
- The obvious absence of patriotism and good stewardship amongst the people and in particular the public officials in most churches, government offices, and communities;
- Zimbabwe’s endemic reliance or dependency on the outside world for major capital or recurrent public investments including humanitarian assistance;
- The prevalent endemic corruption and lack of integrity and justice amongst the general citizenry including tribalism, racism and nepotism and the resultant chronic mistrust;
- The lack of a comprehensive approach that integrates social movements, political parties, businesses, churches, civil society, and other stakeholders in the reconstruction of the Zimbabwe nation/state. Present approaches have largely tended to be piecemeal and ineffectual.
Against this background, restorative justice is the key option in Zimbabwe. Sound, ethical value systems and principles are necessary for resolving deeply rooted racial, political and ethnically motivated divisions which continue to fuel the perpetual retrogression of the nation.
Because of this, we need to first identify ourselves as Zimbabweans before any political or religious grouping, join hands and rebuild “the Zimbabwe for Zimbabweans” and that can only be achieved through dialogue and inclusive negotiations.
We believe that our leaders must recognize that in order for people to come to terms with this broken reality, a process of acknowledgment, forgiveness, reconciliation, and healing is required as steppingstones that lead to the rebuilding of a viable and substantive nation