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Government to set up reconciliation council

Ideally, the council is supposed to be free of political interference, but observers fear it could turn out to be a paper tiger, like the national healing organ.

The draft policy framework document, produced by human rights consultant Clever Nyathi, has been circulating among various political parties’ national executives for consideration before it goes to cabinet for debate.

Senior leaders from both MDC formations and Zanu PF were scheduled to discuss the draft document last week, but the meeting had to be postponed due to a Common Market for East and Southern Africa, (Comesa) summit in Malawi.

The draft document titled “National Policy Framework for National Healing and Reconciliation” says the operations of the peace council would be financed mainly through external resources.

“An endeavour shall also be made to mobilise resources from bilateral, international and local cooperating partners,” reads the document in part.

Already the government has declined funding from Nordic countries, which offered to bankroll elections and human rights programmes in the country, saying this could open the door for external interference in the country’s internal affairs.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has on some occasions come to the rescue of the organ which could not carry out its operations due to financial constraints.

The document said since the organ was a creation of the Global Political Agreement (GPA), the proposed peace council “should be viewed and situated well beyond the current GNU and inclusive government”.

“The council shall honestly deal with the past in order to shape a truly peaceful future, provide safe space for facilitating dialogues.”

The peace council would have nine members with at least four women and nominated members “shall be vetted for suitability by parliament”.

If ratified, it is expected that members of the council will report to both parliament and a yet to be named ministry.

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