Power and Politics

‘Zambia in need of healing,’ group calls for establishment of truth and reconciliation commission


The Southern Africa Network Against Corruption (SANAC) has called on President Hakainde Hichilema to establish a Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).

SANAC Executive Director, Gregory Chifire, said the principle functions of the TRC was that it would be the official body tasked with discovering and revealing past wrongdoing by either state or non-state actors.

Addressing a media briefing in Lusaka on Sunday, Chifire said the Commission’s mandate would to ensure post-conflict justice and healing by allowing victims to be heard and perpetrators to admit and apologize for their crimes.

Chifire said it would also develop programmes that promote national healing, unity and peaceful conflict resolution and encourage change in the behaviour of groups and institutions, thus contributing to social and political transformation.

“To produce and present to government a final report that not only details the injustices committed but also provide recommendations for future Government policies that will lead us towards reconciliation, mutual understanding, and respect,” he said.

Chifire had proposed that the commissioners should be selected from a cross section of society that would among others include political parties, civil society, and the religious and traditional bodies and the selection of the chairperson should be done by Hichilema.

“Zambia is in need of healing. Zambia is in need of genuine forgiveness and reconciliation. However, genuine reconciliation can never take place if those that committed the wrong do not confess and ask for forgiveness,” he said.

Chifire noted that there can never be genuine forgiveness if the victims continue to be ignored and taunted by the perpetrators, making the victims feel let down by society.

He said there were serious atrocities that may not be mentioned here that need to be attended to by the TRC, and Zambians out there in the compounds and suburbs have information.

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“In order to obtain that information and safeguard the security of witnesses, the TRC may elect, in this technology era, to use electronic and telephonic platforms that will ensure that the identities of those providing information is protected and that information can be provided with complete anonymity,” Chifire said.

He added that in addition to providing a platform for perpetrators and victims of crimes alike, the State must undertake to provide immunity against prosecution for the perpetrators who willing admit to their crimes and formally apologize to their victims and the nation.

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