The widespread hopes in <>Zimbabwe and throughout the region that transitional processes would be firmly under way by the end of 2003 have been dashed. The situation on the ground in Zimbabwe has been marked by repression, worsening poverty and the beginnings of a dialogue between prospective agents of transition.
Amidst these worrying developments, the work in Zimbabwe of the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation, supported by SDC since 2002, has opened up several layers of engagement with the present crisis in Zimbabwe. Above all, the work has made manifest - through monitoring, research, strategic dialogues and growing interventions - a variety of perspectives and political actors with the capacity to begin addressing the present crisis and to generate options for thoroughgoing transition.
Strategy / Objectives
The overall objective of the project is to contribute to a dialogue between South African and Zimbabwean civil societies to forge, develop and realise collaborations that promote reconciliation and transitional justice in Zimbabwe. It will build on activities taken by the Institute to link South African and Zimbabwean personalities to reflect on the present situation and explore initiatives to promote dialogue and reconciliation.
The two main areas of activities are:
· To continue and develop further monitoring, research, analysis, and scenario building in order to maximise the Institutes strategic interventions in 2004; and
· Capacity Building and Skills Development to Zimbabwean Civil Society organisations such as negotiation skills, mediation training, media in transition and the needs of women, both in conflict and in its aftermath.
The chief projected outcome will be fed into the larger goal - to Promote Sustainable Transition through developing a larger national vision and establishing a viable understanding of political reconciliation to live together in the aftermath of atrocity, militarism and para-militarism, democratic decay, and deliberate social polarisation.
Beneficiaries and Outcomes
The beneficiaries of the project are potential agents of change in Zimbabwe from party officials to civil leaders, who could translate dialogue into mutually and nationally acceptable outcomes.
The motivation to focus the work on the civil society remains valid: The development of a vibrant domestic and regional civil society can energise society and play a vital role in producing conditions in which democratic transition and reconciliation become possible.
The IJR has cultivated working relationships with moderate and pragmatic political actors on all sides willing to engage with reconciliatory options. These relationships include the churches in Harare and Bulawayo, women's and civic organizations, NGO's such as Crisis in Zimbabwe, and both the ruling party and the opposition.
The IJR was launched in 2000 with the ambition to contribute to the promotion of democratic co-existence and economic development in South Africa and across the continent and in other situations where there is an opportunity to heal the division of the past through peaceful transition.
This second one-year phase runs from January - December 2004. The programme will be considered for extension on the basis of ongoing monitoring and assessment.
The total budget of the one-year programme amounts to R970'700
The project supports the intensification of interactions between civil society organisations of South Africa, Zimbabwe and other Southern African Countries.
Institute for Justice and Reconciliation
Wynberg Mews, Ground Floor, Vincent House
10 Brodie Road
Tel: + 27 21 763 7128
Fax: + 27 21 763 7138