Mapping Women's Needs in Zimbabwe's National Healing Process

"The paper aims to offer policymakers insights that they can use to drive the inclusion of gender justice within transitional justice processes. Written against the background of rising expectations, fears and anxieties about Zimbabwe’s socio-political transition, and its potential for recovery from its grisly immediate past, this paper is founded on two intertwined arguments. The first is that many national healing processes fail to consider the needs of the victims of violent conflict, especially women (partly because transitional justice processes are often driven by elites who proscribe and institutionalise them). The second is that, in identifying and addressing women’s needs in the national healing agenda, Zimbabwe should aim to avoid the traps of transitional justice initiatives that have focused on the human-rights violations alone, and should focus also on the equally important arena of economic violations and psychosocial needs, as well as social and cultural rights that are intrinsically connected with sexual and gender-based violence (Mutua, 2008). This paper unpacks the national healing agenda using a women-centred lens. It aims to map the needs of women in holistic terms, and to convey their opinions and suggestions on how these needs can best be addressed. It also frames the genesis of Zimbabwe’s political and economic crises from 2000 to 2008 and provides insight into the vision and aspirations of women in Zimbabwe in relation to transformative transitional justice. This study therefore suggests that retributive justice should complement restorative approaches based on the five key pillars of accountability, truth recovery, reparations, institutional reform and reconciliation."