The Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights) notes with disappointment the attempts by Zimbabwean president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, to downplay the 2008 election violence in Zimbabwe.
In a recent interview with the Economist, Mnangagwa reportedly argued that the widely condemned shambolic election was very fair. He reportedly said: “It was fair, very fair. Where is the evidence for violence? Not a single case was taken to the police.”
This denialism and revisionism about one of the most violent and sham elections in Zimbabwe is dismaying especially coming from the Head of State and Government.
Statements such as the one made by President Mnangagwa coming ahead of the 2018 harmonised elections paint the impression that political violence is covered up and tolerated by his government.
ZimRights wishes to remind the President that the formation of the Government of National Union (GNU) in February 2009 was a direct result of the contested legitimacy of the 2008 election on account of violence, which was acknowledged by both the AU and SADC.
There are many victims of political violence, who are looking to the same government for rehabilitation on account of personal injury or death of a relative or relatives.
The victims are also expecting the government to institute a genuine peace, truth-telling and reconciliation process apart from condemning and guaranteeing non-recurrence of the gross violations that took place.
ZimRights is particularly concerned by the general approach of denying or downplaying the past by the government, which is a hindrance to truth-telling and reconciliation efforts and processes espoused in the Constitution.