This paper interrogates conditions by which deeply divided societies such as Zimbabwe can move forward through a recognition paradigm often used by Truth Commissions (TCs). The study is located within a dispute that troubled societies cannot fully reconcile as long as pre-existing grievances are not addressed. The principal argument is that there have been human rights abuses under President Mugabe’s presidency and the task of addressing the country’s traumatic past can be effectively executed through the mechanism of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). The study considers, how after the country’s turbulent history, a TRC can enable Zimbabweans to come into terms with what happened, consequently, settle for a new social contract that seeks to bring justice to victims and survivors while also healing the nation’s psyche. To achieve this, the study examines what happened under Mugabe’s presidency by means of conceptualising primary and secondary data on postcolonial Zimbabwe. Findings suggest that there have been abuses that may have left the country divided and wounded, requiring an institutional response to deal with the past as a means of creating a shared memory. Findings also highlight that reparative justice has become more of an imperative as victims become more aware of their rights.
Key words: Zimbabwe, human rights, injustice, truth commissions, reconciliation, injustice, redress, reparations.
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