Saturday, October 08, 2011

SACCORD demands truth before forgiveness

SACCORD demands truth before forgiveness
By Moses Kuwema
Fri 07 Oct. 2011, 14:50 CAT

SACCORD says there is no forgiveness without truthfulness and has since urged the government to use the mechanisms available to punish those who abused public office in the past regime.

In an interview, the Southern African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (SACCORD) executive director Lee Habasonda said there were certain questionable actions that took place in the MMD regime and people needed answers, saying this was what formed part of the truth.

"As SACCORD, we think that first accountability, second justice, third truth and then we can talk about forgiveness. We cannot talk about forgiveness if we do not know the truth, if there is no justice, if there is no accountability, in short we are saying that there is need for those that occupied positions of authority to say the truth to the Zambian people, to be accountable for some of their actions that were questionable and to ensure that justice is given to the Zambian people," Habasonda said.

He said the Patriotic Front government was ushered into power on the basis that they would give justice to the people and they would be accountable and tell the people of Zambia the truth.

He said forgiveness should only come at a stage when people have told the truth and when they had spoken about how they accounted for their actions when they were in authority and whether they did not miscarry justice.

"If those things are not explained, then there is no value in forgiveness because forgiveness is a response to the fact that people have realised the need to redress the wrongs or to 'right the wrong' as they call it. Therefore, you cannot heal the wounds if you are not able to tell the truth; healing will only come about if there is genuineness in asking for forgiveness," he said.

Habasonda said even in religion, those who talked about reconciliation and seeking forgiveness have to demonstrate that they are remorseful.

"Not some of these people who yesterday were insulting on top of the anthill, they come to some TV station and say Mr Michael Sata must forgive me because he is now head of state. I think they must not make it a mockery to get away with it; they must say the truth," he said.

Habasonda's comments come barely a week after President Sata openly disagreed in church during Mass with St Ignatius parish priest Fr Charles Chilinda, who was calling on the new administration to forgive former president Rupiah Banda for any wrongdoing in the spirit of forgiveness and reconciliation.

But President Sata raised his hand to declare his stance, pointing out that Fr Chilinda's statement meant that the government should not fight corruption.

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