2018 TRANSITIONAL JUSTICE SYMPOSIUM

SUMMARY REPORT

the world is watching, Africa is watching… As we see the story of a nation that has decided to
“ Zimbabwe,
stand up again And declare ‘Never Again!’ May ‘Never Again’ echo in every single corner of your nation.

INTRODUCTION
From 21 to 23 November 2018, over
118 delegates converged in Bulawayo
for the 2018 Transitional Justice Policy
Symposium which was jointly
convened by the National Transitional
Justice Working Group (NTJWG) and
the Centre for the Study of Violence
and Reconciliation (CSVR). The theme
of the symposium was, ‘Never Again:
Setting the Transitional Justice Agenda
for Zimbabwe.’ The symposium was
designed to give Zimbabweans an
opportunity to reflect on the most
urgent transitional justice needs of the
country and contribute to the
development of a proposal for a
transitional justice policy for
Zimbabwe. A transitional justice policy
for Zimbabwe allows the country to join
the continent in putting in place
measures to ensure that past atrocities
are dealt with, victims find redress and
closure. It further ensures that
mechanisms are put in place to spur
and drive national commitment to say
‘Never Again’ to violence.

Nomfundo Mogapi, Executive Director, CSVR

The Never Again Movement
Saying ‘Never Again’ to violence requires more than
eloquent speeches and slogans. It requires a national
commitment, expressed in concrete measures that
transform a culture by uprooting all the seeds of violence
and creating mechanisms for peaceful transformation of
conflicts and opening the avenues of truth, justice and
accountability to the many individuals, families and
communities affected by past conflicts. In acknowledging
the extreme importance of this vision, the symposium
brought together delegates from a cross section of leaders
in Zimbabwe, including civil society, churches, business,
legislators, academics, international experts, traditional
leaders, community elders, development partners,
independent commissions and most importantly, survivors
of past atrocities.
Reflections
Over the course of three days, delegates reflected on
Zimbabwe’s transitional justice journey dating back to the
colonial era, a series of struggles that have seen us as a
nation to where we are today. In the second day, delegates
travelled to six key sites of different atrocities in
Matebeleland where they came face to face with the
ugliness of violence and the horrors of non-closure.
Survivors of past atrocities were brave enough to open
wide their homes and hearts to the groups and to share
their deepest angers, fears and hopes. Converging at the
Amagugu International Heritage Trust in Matopo,
reflections from families searching for closure continued
with a very touching theatre performance by Victory
Siyanqoba Trust, titled, “Someone Lied.” The
performance was followed by a candid dialogue around
how the Matebeleland transitional justice questions can
be addressed and the role of government in it.
Day three was the wrap up, focusing on concrete policy
reflections and processes necessary to say and guarantee
‘Never Again!’ Thousands of Zimbabweans across the
world joined the conversation through the
#NeverAgainZW which started trending one hour into the
symposium until three days after the end of the
conference, reaching mention reach of 3.66 million
people.

Policy Options
The symposium put on the table a cocktail of several policy
measures which can be pursued to see the reality of ‘Never
Again’ in Zimbabwe. The proposals included:
Ÿ
Approaches to promote truth
telling, truth seeking, truth
recovery and truth
preservation. This included
the role of archives and how
such a process ought to be
designed to capture the
reality of what happened and
facilitate healing . It was
noted that archiving is not a
Scan code to see
question of the past issues Siphosami
Malunga’s Address
at the Symposium
but the future responsibilities
that should be carried by the government and
stakeholders;
Ÿ
The centrality of security sector transformation to
promote increased citizen security. Proposals were
put on the table for a comprehensive transformation
programme aimed at reconfiguring the relationship
between the people of Zimbabwe and their security
services for increased citizen safety. Key principles to
include: knowledge-based professional
implementation, transparency and political
impartiality, inclusive dialogue with all stakeholders
and consensus - based national ownership;
Ÿ
While there is an aversion for amnesties because of
their history of promoting impunity, delegates noted
that a deeper and more analytical dialogue on
amnesties is unavoidable if a real inclusive
transformative justice process is to succeed;
Ÿ
Cutting across all themes, is the question of designing
a transitional justice policy to achieve gender justice
beyond the two binaries of men and women or boys
and girls and taking into consideration social
constructs, systems and structures that perpetuate
patriarchy and create harmful and atrocious power
relations;
Ÿ
Across the different thematic policy reflections, the
symposium emphasised the critical role of
independent commissions in ensuring the success of
the transitional justice policy for Zimbabwe.

CONCLUSION
 
Detailed reports available on
www.ntjwg.org.zw/symposium.html
For any further inquiries
Email: info@ntjwg.org.zw
Whats App: +263 782 767 569

The symposium tasked the NTJWG with decoding the rich content generated in the three days to develop a policy
document that would help make a reality the vision painted by the delegates.
In closing the symposium, NTJWG Chairperson Mr. Alec Muchadehama said that the goal of a transitional justice
policy for Zimbabwe is to build a national architecture for compassion.
“A transitional justice policy means we want a value system that says
‘the wounded must be healed’ to be government's way of doing business.”

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