It is with hope that we received the news of the launching of the national consultations on the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparation Commission. God knows that we need to heal. The victims and their families will certainly find solace if they are able to testify and reveal the extent of their ordeals. It is clear that many of them are battling with the trauma.
Furthermore, I wish to say that we must remember that some of the perpetrators are themselves victims of the former regime. We know that dictators have many ways of making people do their bidding. One of those methods is by threatening them, either their person or their family. Once someone is hooked by being told to do something [which might seem less evil in the beginning] a dictator uses that as leverage to force such a person to commit atrocities of high magnitude.
Besides, even the threat of losing one’s job could be enough to force someone to do certain things. We know that the country reached a certain stage when losing a job could almost be equated with losing one’s sanity. A man waking up and not knowing where to find the next meal for his or her family is the worst fear. The mere thought of that could make one do as told. So, in essence, all those who fell under these categories can be regarded as victims, albeit, victims of a different sort. . Now that the dictatorship is over, thinking of their actions alone is punishment for them.
Let me be quick, however, to say that I am in no way condoning the actions of anyone. No matter what threat, pressure or otherwise one is under, it should never force one to do certain things. For that, there is no genuine excuse. But it is obvious that all people are not the same. As such, some are strong willed and others are of a weak demeanor and resolve. All these angles should be considered by the Commission so they come out with recommendations that will heal our nation.
We have suffered enough and it is high time we started the healing process. Once that is accomplished, our progress will be rapid, for, we are a forgiving and accommodating people. We can pull through this and become even stronger. I hope also that the TRRC will not only focus on trying to right the wrongs of the past, but suggest ways of righting our footsteps [institutions] to enable us avoid ever repeating this heinous era of our history.
Have a good day Mr President.