Former police officer and Buhera West Member of Parliament said Zimbabwe should not try to open old wounds by talking about bygones like Gukurahundi because there was a third force that was trying o cause conflict among the people.
Speaking during the debate about the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission Bill, Mandipaka said all the counties that had tried to resolve such conflicts had done so immediately after the conflict not years after it.
“You cannot have a truth and reconciliation commission 17 years past the conflict. What are we trying to achieve here? I am at pains Mr. Speaker to accept this Bill because if you look at countries that have no peace and have disturbances, it is because of these issues that we are trying to bring into existence,” he said.
“These are issues to do with tribes, ethnicity and so forth. I think that it is not good for our democracy and our country. Let us not forget our history. In 1987 on the 22nd of December, the late great son of the soil, Father Zimbabwe and the surviving His Excellency, the President of this country entered into a Unity Accord. It is my view that the leaders were trying to unite people together.
“As we debate and talk about this Bill, we must not forget what Father Zimbabwe did for us. It was a way to try and unite the people, and forget about being Shona or Ndebele and being one nation. I advocate for unity amongst ourselves and forget about these things that we are talking about.”
Mutasa Central legislator Trevour Saruwaka, however, differed.
“I think the first point I wish to make about this particular Bill is that Members of Parliament must be reminded that it is coming as a result of a constitutional provision, which is establishing the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission Bill. It is not for us today to then say we must strike it off and not establish this Commission,” he said.
“It is also instructive that those responsible for perpetrating violence and pain among the Zimbabweans will probably be happy if we are to stop this process and let by-gones be by-gones but in reality Mr. Speaker Sir, the nation does not heal that way. We must be able to face our demons if we want this country to progress. It is very easy for a perpetrator to expect the victim to forgive and forget but if you reverse the processes you will realise that a victim can only be healed when the truth and justice has been done.”
Below is part of the heated debate:
Continued next page