The Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) is carrying out a countrywide outreach programme to promote peace in Zimbabwe.
The Programme tries to bridge the gap between followers of different political parties in the country as well as healing the wounds of last year’s poll violence.
“We are trying to bring together both perpetrators of violence and their victims with the aim of cultivating peace and reconciliation among the people of Zimbabwe,” said Alouis Chaumba the CCJP’s National Director.
“We are working with all the eight dioceses of the Catholic Church in Zimbabwe to spread out the programme. We make use of small workshops, church services and any other occassion that is fit for reconciliation,” said Chaumba.
He said the programme was built around the same principles with the the post 1994 Rwanda genocide traditional courts where perpetrator and victim were brought together in a reveal all style.
“The victims are getting an opportunity to let the anger out and offers the perpetrators an opportunity to confess and apologise,” said Chaumba.
More than 200 MDC supporters were killed last year in poll related violence. Prime Minister Tsvangirai was also forced to pull out of a June 27 Presidential run-off poll citing mounting political violence targeting his followers.
At its formation in February, Zimbabwe new inclusive government committed itself to a programme of national healing but apart from the appointment of Zanu PF’s John Nkomo, MDC’s Sekai Holland and Gibson Sibanda as ministers of state responsible for National Healing, nothing concrete has occurred.
Chaumba added that despite the slow start there has been some heady way in the programme. He gave an example of an incident which happened in Harare where a victim and a perpetrator of violence were given an opportunity to face up and made peace at the end of the day.
“We have realised that most of the time victims want the perpetrators of violence to own up, ask them questions on why they were getting violent and who asked them to do it, all they want are answers. On the other hand the perpetrators want to ask for forgiveness and ask the victims what they can do to say sorry or compensate victims,” said Chaumba.