THE National Transitional Justice Working Group (NTJWG) has expressed concern over Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa’s recent threat to shed off some of the country’s independent commissions as a government cost-cutting measure.
Chinamasa recently disclosed that Treasury was financially hamstrung and proposed to do away with some commissions to cut down on government expenditure.
In a statement over the weekend, the local justice lobby group said the planned move was likely to derail plans to entrench principles of human rights and democracy in governance structures as provided for under Chapter 12 of the new Constitution.
Taken from Newsday
The new Constitution provided for five additional independent commissions mainly to protect human rights.
“It is hardly two years since the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No 20) Act 2013 became law inaugurating a new era in Zimbabwe’s constitutional history. The 2013 Constitution is the only one, in the history of Zimbabwe to have emerged from a process involving public consultations,” the organisation said.
NTJWG is a platform established by 46 non-State transitional justice stakeholders to provide the interface between stakeholders and official transitional justice processes in Zimbabwe.
Its mission is to create inclusive space for the co-ordination of transitional justice stakeholders, share experiences, build synergies for comprehensive, accountable, victim-centred and participatory transitional justice processes.
“Of serious importance to our transitional justice constituency are the independent commissions in Chapter 12 established to support and entrench human rights and democracy as well as ensuring that past injustices are remedied. Without downgrading the importance of other commissions, we wish to emphasise that commissions like the Gender Commission and the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission are of paramount value if we as a society are serious about building sustainable peace and strengthening accountability.”
The group added: “We encourage our government to resist any attempts to do away with the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission, the Gender Commission or any of the commissions established by the new Constitution.
It is possible that for some sections of Zimbabwe, these commissions present a “stumbling block” or maybe a source of fear.
“We do not believe that the collective wisdom and hope of all the people of Zimbabwe who participated in the constitutional reform process should be replaced by the fears of just a few. Anyone who believes that peace is expensive has no appreciation of how much violence has cost our country and how much it continues to threaten future generations.”