Bulawayo Agenda strongly condemns attempts to limit the scope of Human Rights violations Investigations in Zimbabwe

Bulawayo Agenda greatly appreciates the efforts made by the Inclusive Government this far through the parliament to finalize the law that mandates the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) to investigate human rights violations in this country.


However, as a human rights advocacy institution, we are concerned and disturbed by the limited mandate that has been given to the Commission. According to the media reports, the Human Rights Commission's terms of reference have been limited to only those violations that took place after February 2009.


Article 7 of the Global Political Agreement mandates the Inclusive Government to set up 'mechanisms' which may be necessary to "achieve national healing, cohesion and unity in respect of victims of pre and post independence political violence €.


In fact, the very framework of setting up an inclusive government was based on the belief of the need to collectively create a conducive climate "for the holding of credible, free and fair elections in Zimbabwe. €


Bulawayo Agenda is convinced that what the negotiators agreed on as the ZHRC's mandate will simply sweep under the carpet serious atrocities and human rights abuses committed against the people of Zimbabwe during Gukurahundi (1983-1987), Operation Murambatsvina (2005), and the politically motivated violence of the 2000, 2002 and 2008 elections. We are also concerned that this decision is in no way different from the 'Elite Pact' of 1987 'The Unity Accord' to perpetuate a culture of violence and impunity in the name of 'progress' leaving communities deeply divided, wounded and continuously at war with each other. While we respect that the three negotiating parties have the legitimacy on the basis of the established but often misused principle of representative democracy, we reject the quality and question the wisdom of such a decision.


We are greatly disturbed by the continued efforts to undermine parliamentary debates on nationally important processes in favor of 'negotiators' of the three political parties in the inclusive government.


Apart from degrading the spirit of national reconciliation, healing and cohesion, it denies Zimbabweans, both victims and perpetrators an opportunity to reconcile with their past and with each other.


It also denies them the opportunity to establish and mandate resilient institutions the duty to deliver to Zimbabweans, a 'never again' experience. By implication, this move is a mockery of national healing efforts, perpetuation of conflicts and human rights abuses giving perennial perpetrators of violence a new lease to enjoy the condoned culture of violence and impunity.


Bulawayo Agenda calls on the Inclusive Government to allow a clear horizontal separation of powers to express itself with regards a legislative debate and in that regard, all the consent of the citizens of Zimbabwe to be respected in deciding the mandate of the ZHRC.


We also appeal to the legislators to mandate the ZHRC to investigate all human rights abuses that took place in post independence Zimbabwe.

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