The National Transitional Justice Working Group
The National Transitional Justice Working Group (NTJWG) is a platform established by forty-six Zimbabwean transitional justice
stakeholders to provide the interface between transitional justice stakeholders and the ofﬁcial transitional justice processes in Zimbabwe.
Vision, Purpose and Mission
NTJWG shares with all transitional justice stakeholders the vision for a peaceful, just, accountable and democratic society. Its purpose is to facilitate consensus among transitional justice actors on appropriate transitional justice principles and processes for Zimbabwe.
Its mission is to create an inclusive space for the coordination of transitional justice stakeholders, share experiences; build synergies for comprehensive, accountable, victim-centred and participatory transitional justice processes in Zimbabwe.
In pursuit of this vision, the NTJWG will be guided by the following values:
- Integrity: Professionalism, Commitment, Truth, Transparency, Diligence, Honesty, Confidentiality
- Inclusivity: Involving everyone regardless of sex, race, ethnicity, age, sexuality, belief, ideology and geography
- Impartiality: Non-partisanship, Independence, objectivity
Formation of NTJWG
The NTJWG is a culmination of the efforts of many stakeholders dating back to the symposium on Civil Society and Justice in Zimbabwe, which was held in Johannesburg from 11 to 13 August 2003. The Symposium, which was attended by leaders from over 70 civil society organisations from Zimbabwe, developed the key positions on how past human rights violations ought to be addressed. Some critical recommendations were made which included the need to put in place mechanisms to ensure that past violations never reoccur in Zimbabwe. Thus the Symposium recommended the need to set up institutions to deal with the past and present human rights violations and that such institutions be empowered not only to investigate and seek truth but also to recommend criminal prosecution, provide redress and reparations for victims, and lead to the healing of the nation.
From 8 to 9 September 2008, just before the signing of the Global Political Agreement civil society leaders met at a Transitional Justice Options for Zimbabwe Workshop convened by the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum in Harare and adopted the following fundamental principles for transitional justice in Zimbabwe:
- Comprehensive, inclusive, consultative participation of all stakeholders, particularly the victims
- The establishment of truth
- Justice, compensation and reparations
- National healing and reconciliation
- Non-repetition (never again)
Just after the adoption of these principles, Zimbabwe’s political leadership entered into a coalition government from 2009 to 2013. This period saw a number of reforms that are key to Zimbabwe’s transitional justice process most importantly the constitutional reform process that saw the signing of a new Constitution for Zimbabwe into law by President Robert Mugabe on 22 May 2013.
During that same period, transitional justice stakeholders in search of redress undertook some initiatives for victims of human rights violations. These included litigation in the courts of law, rehabilitation of victims by organisations offering psychosocial support and proposals for the reform of key institutions.
In October 2012 and 2013, the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum (the Forum) organized the International Conferences on Transitional Justice, bringing together stakeholders from civil society, churches, business, government, academia and international experts to deliberate on how best to achieve justice and give redress to victims of past violations. Both conferences produced a key recommendation on the establishment of a Working Group, whose framework would include working towards the implementation of various transitional justice recommendations. Participants stated that the members of the working group should be chosen through a transparent process considering the importance of objectivity, integrity and credibility (ICTJ I Report, 2012:125 and ICTJ II Report: 2).
It is important here to note that the Second Conference was convened after the signing of the new Constitution into law and its theme focused mainly on independent Commissions hence the deliberations were focused on the upcoming work of the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) as established by section 252 of the New Constitution.
Following these recommendations, a follow up consultative meeting was held in Harare on 27 February 2014 to set the objectives, terms of reference and the structure of the NTJWG. 46 organisations including representatives from government participated in the consultative workshop. Following on the recommendations of the consultative meeting, elections for the NTJWG were set for 23 May 2014. Initially, eight members were elected to the National Transitional Justice Working Group. One additional member was added. Current members are the following:
- Mr. Alec Muchadehama: Reparation / Chairperson
- Ms. Memory Kachambwa: Gender / Deputy Chairperson
- Rev. Dr. Fraderick Chiromba: Promotion of Truth
- Ms. Roselyn Hanzi: Justice and Accountability
- Rev. Dr. Ray Motsi: Memorialization
- Mr. Anthony Reeler: Independent Expert / Institutional Reform
- Mr. Paul Themba Nyathi: Independent Expert
- Ms. Samukheliso Khumalo: Independent Expert
- Mr. Otto Saki: Independent Expert