A meeting organised to bring victims of political violence and official organs formed to deal with emotive issues of national reconciliation closer turned into a stormy affair this week.
Tempers rose high, with Holland at one point accusing some victims of trying “to show off”.
A local organisation, Heal Zimbabwe Trust, organised the meeting at a Harare hotel. Holland is a member of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC-T party, which claims that its supporters suffered from past elections, particularly the disputed 2008 presidential election run-off.
Amid jeers, Holland shouted at delegates who included over 200 victims of past political violence after they quizzed her on why her ministry had remained largely a paper tiger.
Holland went ballistic when a victim from Manicaland demanded to know why perpetrators of violence were being prioritised in government agricultural input schemes ahead of victims.
Zanu PF youths, the victim said, were bragging in communities about receiving allowances and inputs from government for their role in the 2008 election violence.
“In terms of resources, the president (Morgan Tsvangirai) was here. Why didn’t you ask him this question?” She wanted to know. “Why are you putting it to me?” she said with jeers drowning her defence.
Tsvangirai had attended the same event earlier.
Holland was undeterred by the increasing heckling: “No, listen, can I just say this thing. When the president comes here you stand up dancing, ululating, jumping and really showing love and gratitude. He leaves then you put ministers in a tight spot.
“That is the question to put to the president because my position is, I am doing national healing,” Holland shot back at the delegates.
The National Healing ministry and Jomic are the coalition government’s chief organs to deal with transitional justice matters and heal tensions that are running high following the 2008 election, one of the most violent since Independence.
Victims and civil society groups accuse the two inter-party bodies of failure. Next in line for the victims’ wrath was Lovemore Kadenge, who represents Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s party on Jomic.
He was booed off the podium after deferring victims’ questions to the ministries of Home Affairs and Defence, which are in charge of the police and the army.
Earlier this month, Holland exchanged harsh words with former liberation war guerillas that operated under Zipra. She was angrily reacting to accusations of incompetence by Zipra.