The leaders of Zimbabwe's unity government have initiated a national
healing and reconciliation campaign, calling for tolerance and an end
to the political violence that is still going on five months after the
formation of the unity government.
At a ceremony to launch the campaign Friday,
President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy
Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara, who lead the three parties that form
the unity government, all acknowledged that Zimbabwe needs to go
through a healing process following decades of political violence.
three leaders say political violence and intolerance are still
prevalent in the country. Mr. Mugabe lamented that supporters of the
three parties have not followed in the path of their leaders, who, he
said, are working together in what he described as amity. He said this
was the result of the long hours they spent together during the
negotiations that brought about the unity government.
did to us was to realize that, after all, although we have been
fighting as leaders of different parties, that there is that one very
essential bond, which can never be severed, that we are all
Zimbabweans," said Mr. Mugabe.
The president pointed to
Zimbabwe's violent past from pre-colonial times, through colonialism
and after independence. All these have to be addressed, he said. Mr.
Mugabe conceded political differences will always exist, and condemned
the use of all forms of intimidation or coercion.
Tsvangirai, whose Movement for Democratic Change party complains of
continued victimization by Mr. Mugabe's party, said it was up to the
leadership to ask their followers to desist from political violence.
these days are to herald the start of a genuine process of National
Healing then we, as leaders, must make an unequivocal call to all our
peoples and to all our supporters for an immediate cessation of
violence, persecution and lawlessness," he said.
Mutambara who leads a breakaway faction of the Movement for Democratic
Change also said the political leadership is key to any healing.
President and prime minister let us work together to put an end to
violence, to put an end to disharmony, to put an end to conflict in our
country," he said. "If we do not put an end to these vices in our
country, these vices are going to put an end to our civilization."
Mugabe called on Zimbabweans to forgive and forget, but Prime Minister
Tsvangirai said justice is a crucial element of any healing process.
Healing cannot occur without justice, and justice must be done, as well
as be seen to be done. There can be no room or tolerance for
retribution, as retribution perpetuates the cycle of oppression and
suffering," he said.
The need for Zimbabwe to go through a
process of national healing, reconciliation and integration after years
of intolerance and political violence was acknowledged in the agreement
that brought about the unity government. Three ministers, one from each
of the parties, were appointed to oversee the process. The three days
of prayer are the beginning of a nationwide campaign of consultations
with Zimbabweans in an effort to deal with the country's traumatic