In Zimbabwe, reconciliation has become a contentious process and has been politicised at the international, national and community levels. Criticisms have been raised against the government related to its failure to implement inclusive reconciliation processes that can amend broken relationships in Zimbabwe, particularly at the community level. Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) that are traditionally assumed to have a role in bringing about reconciliation on the community level have, in Zimbabwe, become part of the politicisation of reconciliation in various ways.
This research has explored the challenges of reconciliation in Zimbabwe, with the Nkayi District in Matabeleland as a case study, because it stands at the intersection of the conflicts that have occurred in Zimbabwe over the past three decades. It serves to illustrate the political debates behind the alleged failure of government to implement reconciliation processes at the community level. Research findings revealed that the complexity of reconciliation in the Nkayi District is rooted in the lack of consensual understanding among stakeholders as to who ought to be reconciled and how the process should occur. This complexity is enhanced by the lack of an enabling environment due to the polarisation of the community by government security agents, a lack of political will by political actors, shortage of resources and a lack of common voice in the undertakings by CSOs. The research concluded that the systematic marginalisation of the Matabeleland region and the fact that the Gukurahundi massacres were never dealt with by the government, undermines any attempts at reconciliation in this region. This research argues that reconciliation in the Nkayi District begins when the government acknowledges all incidents of violence that occurred.