On Wed July 6 a workshop was convened at the Diakonia Centre in Central Durban by Zimbabwe Exiles Forum (ZEF) in partnership with other Zimbabwean civic groups which are based in South Africa. Keynote speakers were Gabriel Shumba (ZEF), Munjodzi Mutandiri (NCA), Janet Munakamwe (Southern Africa Women’s Institute for Migration Affairs~SAIMA), Sox Chikohwero (Zimbabwe Global Forum) and Patience Rusere (Media Consultant).
The purpose of the workshop was to analyse how Transitional Justice can be applied in pre and post crisis Zimbabwe. Transitional Justices looks at the various avenues both judicial and quasi-judicial, which can used to address human rights abuses. In the case of Zimbabwe this entails strategies needed to bring closure and healing to victims of state sponsored violence and to ensure that perpetrators are held accountable for atrocities committed since 1980.
This Workshop proved quite interesting because ordinary Zimbabweans who attended the event were given the opportunity to contribute and present their own perspectives on how Transitional Justice can work in Zimbabwe. The workshop was basically divided into 2 components, comprised of contributions by the main speakers representing Zimbabwe Exiles Forum, National Constitutional Assembly and SAIMA. These speakers expressed their views on how Transitional Justice can be applied in Zimbabwe.
On the other hand, other participants were also given an opportunity to present their views on reforms needed to transform institutions like the police and justice system. Also discussions centred on how to promote truth, reconciliation, justice and gender equality in Zimbabwe.
There was an impressive turnout by ordinary Zimbabweans, based in and around Durban, from all walks of life. This could be a sign that exiled Zimbabweans, particularly in SA, are now more actively interested in participating in the shaping of a new Zimbabwe.
What came out from this workshop was a clear common understanding by everyone that Transitional Justice will work if applied in a holistic approach. This will ensure that national harmony, justice and sense of nationhood can return to our traumatised nation.