PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe is soon expected to announce the nine National Peace and Reconciliation Commissioners selected from 30 candidates interviewed a month ago, to sit on the commission tasked with promoting national healing, peace and reconciliation in the country.
The National Peace and Reconciliation Commission is provided for by Section 251 of the constitution.
This commission, unlike the other independent commissions, is likely to deal with the country’s most controversial and divisive issues related to gross human rights abuses that have occurred in the last 35 years, especially in the run-up to general elections often fraught with violence and rigging claims.
It will be faced with grave chapters in the country’s history, from the emotive Gukurahundi massacres of the 1980s in which about 20 000 people died in the Matabeleland and Midlands regions, destruction of property, abductions and murders during elections, farm invasions and disappearances of people perceived to be anti-government.
The commission is an important means of promoting reconciliation and reducing past tension by establishing the truth about human rights violations and their causes, responding to the needs of victims to recount their stories and proposing reforms and recommendations that may contribute to the strengthening of democracy in the country.
For the commission to be effective, it needs personnel of unquestionable integrity, with impeccable human rights records. They must also have demonstrable commitment to and leadership in the cause of human rights, conflict transformation, conciliation and mediation.
Politicians and political activists have no place in the commission if it is to effectively discharge its duties by dealing with past violations.
Despite the process of choosing the commissioners being of public interest, parliament has refused to divulge the names of the 16 candidates currently under consideration for final selection by Mugabe. Out of these, Mugabe will appoint eight commissioners and a chairperson of the commission.
Notables on the list include former High Court judges Simbi Mubako and Selo Maselo Nare, Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Harare Chad Gandiya, former Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe president Goodwill Shana and lawyer and spirit medium Luta Shaba, who is also the founding executive of Women’s Trust.
The Zimbabwe Independent this week profiles the last batch among the 30 candidates interviewed.
Machinga is a qualified psychotherapist, a social scientist and a practical theologian with over 20 years’ experience in crisis and basic counselling, trauma counselling and community mental health. She is an academia, a researcher, and an author in mental health, spirituality, healing and reconciliation issues.
Machinga has trained in clinical crisis care and specialised in working with people in crisis and trauma recovery.
She has published various articles on community based mental health and has trained as a group facilitator.
Machinga has years of experience in working with grassroots communities in issues of healing and reconciliation.
She received a B.A in Education from Africa University, an M.A majoring in Counseling and a Ph.D. specialising in Psychotherapy. She is undertaking a Masters of Science in Psychology with a specialisation in Neuropsychology.
Machinga is a certified instructor for Mental Health First Aid in Zimbabwe, a trained eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR) therapist and coordinates the Africa University Counseling Services Unit.
She is also trained in Clinical Pastoral Education and a trained clinical supervisor through Zimbabwe Institute of Systemic Therapy (CONNECT)
Machinga has served as a primary and secondary school educator for 13 years and an adult educator for 10 years. As an academia , she lecturers graduate students in Psychotherapy, Child Development.
Machinga is a member of the Research Ethics Committee at Africa University. She is the founder and clinical director of a community based mental health service in Mutare, the Pastoral Care and Counseling Services, which is registered to offer psychotherapy and professional counseling.
Machinga works with abused, neglected and abandoned children and youth at risk.
She has also served and worked with diverse categories of people in need such as prisoners, law enforcement, ex-prisoners, women in need, faith based organisations and students. Her research interests are in the area of trauma work, spirituality and mental health and tending to the visible and invisible wounds of those who are traumatised. She offers consultancy services in mental health and spirituality.
Musanhu is the executive director of Musasa Project, an organisation that implements gender-based violence programmes in Zimbabwe. She has over 12 years’ experience in women’s rights, violence against women and project management. She is also a member of the Anti-domestic Violence Council.
Musanhu supports the Jass’ Heart-mind-Body programme in Zimbabwe and worked for the Zimbabwe Women Lawyers Association as a programme manager before moving to Child Protection Society as an advocacy coordinator.
Jass is a women-led human rights network of activists, popular educators and scholars in 31 countries who work to ensure women leaders are more confident and better organised to take on the most critical human rights issues of our time. As the first programme officer for Action Aid Zimbabwe, Musanhu spearheaded the child sponsorship programme.
Musanhu is a holder of Bachelor of Laws Degree and a Masters in Women’s Law from the University of Zimbabwe.
Eunice is married to Tinoziva Bere, a lawyer based in Mutare and former chairperson of the Zimbabwe Law Society. She is a researcher and lecturer at the Institute for Peace Leadership and Governance at Africa University. She has 10 years’ experience in tertiary institutions.
Nkala is a former national director of the International Bible Society Zimbabwe and Malawi, an author, editor and translator.
She has a Master of Arts in Leadership and management. Nkala is also a motivational speaker and elder in her church. She currently sits on a number of humanitarian boards.
Nkala is a Brethren in Christ Church leader and contributor to the first volume of A Global Mennonite History.
She believes the church is best able to address the violence in various African countries by emphasising forgiveness and reconciliation, and by banding together with other church voices including mainline, Evangelical Fellowship and Roman Catholic groups to speak to governments with one message. Nkala is a mistress of ceremonies at Mennonite World Conference 14th Assembly in Bulawayo.
Milidzani Faith Masiye-Moyo
Masiye-Moyo is a legal practitioner and has worked for the Botswana government as a senior magistrate (May 2003 to February 2013) and Bulawayo municipality between 2000 and 2003 as a legal officer. She is currently running a law firm in Bulawayo.
Her skills include legal research, criminal law, litigation, civil litigation, criminal defence, trial practice, corporate law, legal writing, personal injury, property law, human rights and international law.
She speaks five languages including Kalanga, Setswana, English, Ndebele and Shona. She also understands Xhosa, Zulu and Sotho. Masiye-Moyo is holder of Bachelor of Laws (LLB) law (1994-1997).
Musvota has been a pastor for 15 years. She is a director of the African Peace and Business Fellowship and also a secretary for her church’s women’s body.
She once worked at Forward in Faith International. She studied at the Alternative Medicine Family Care Centre.
Sebata is a retired educationist and a retired electoral officer. She is a former director for the voter education department at the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission. She is hoping to go back to lecturing, having previously lectured at various colleges.
Chigwedere is the Marondera district chairperson for the Indigenous Women Farmers Association Trust. She has worked as a consultant psychologist and is currently a full-time farmer in Marondera District.
She has worked with NGOs, the Zimbabwe Open University and University of Zimbabwe lecturing in the counselling and psychology departments.
Lillian is wife to Stansilus Chigwedere, the late former career ambassador.
Moyo retired from the National Railways of Zimbabwe in 2013 on early retirement. She is currently studying with the Zimbabwe Open University for a Master of Science Degree in Peace, Leadership and Conflict Resolution.
Moyo is attached to a faith-based organisation called Grace to Heal which deals with conflict resolution and conflict transformation and peace building in the rural Matabeleland region. She is also a volunteer at an organisation called Precious Life Foundation, a shelter for young mothers and their children from abusive relationships.
Nyoni lives in Bulawayo and is self-employed. He didn’t state much about his background.
Tofa is married with three children and is a legal practitioner by profession employed at Ratisai Law Firm. During the drafting of the country’s new constitution she represented the MDC formation led by Welshman Ncube in the drafting team.