The National Peace and Reconciliation Bill debates that has been going on in Zimbabwe has opened old wounds and antagonism, as relatives of those who died in Gukurahundi massacres and other members fail to agree on how best to close the chapter.
Whenever such issues are raised there has been mixed reactions with some saying it should be treated as water under the bridge while some say people should be compensated.
Recently tempers flared in Chinhoyi during a National Peace and Reconciliation Bill consultative meeting, as the parliamentary portfolio committee is going around the country seeking citizens’ input for the bill.
The meeting degenerated into a partisan issue with ZANU PF members saying it is now water under the bridge, while opposition aligned members saying a conclusion can only be attained after the past perpetrators of wrongs are punished or after compensation is granted.
The meeting had to be aborted after members mocked each other in songs along partisan lines, as many find it hard to forgive those who wronged them, forcing MPs who were the moderators to abandon the meeting.
Meanwhile, the Heavenly Culture, World Peace Restoration of Light (HWPL) which has branches in South Africa, Malawi, Rwanda, Kenya, Nigeria, Morocco, and Zimbabwe, says peace and reconciliation is the way to go if a heritage for future generations is to be passed on.
HWPL is an international peace organisation under the United Nations Department of Public Information.
In a multilateral proposal for peace, coexistence, and mutual understanding, titled a new Approach to Peaceful Coexistence among Ethnic Groups HWPL says people should consider peace and dialogue as a way to solve bitterness left behind by past conflicts.
Commenting after the recent resurgence of the xenophobic attacks in South Africa, HWPL believes calls for world peace is gaining momentum as people are urged to resolve their differences through diplomatic means (dialogue).
HWPL says people world over should take a leaf from Nelson Mandela’s Truth and reconciliation Commission which is similar to what Zimbabwe seeks to do with the National Reconciliation Bill to deal with past conflicts, instead of seeking revenge.
On June 4 2016, the International Peace Youth Group an affiliate to the HWPL alongside other groups and educational institutions hosted the 3rd Annual Commemoration of the Declaration of World Peace at the Harare Gardens.
The Zimbabwean government has been struggling on how to solve the Gukurahundi issue, the matter also came to the fore recently, when President Robert Mugabe announced that he was to hold his birthday party at Matopos, an area that was one of the affected during the disturbances. This was an indication that people are still holding to grudges from past conflicts.