The government faces a Constitutional Court (ConCourt) challenge over inordinate delays in establishing the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC), local human rights groups have warned.
Civic society leaders yesterday decried President Robert Mugabe’s dithering even after he had been provided with a list of recommended names to make up the commission.
Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum executive director Lloyd Kuveya told journalists at a media briefing in Harare yesterday the government needed to abide by the Constitution if it was to avoid litigations.
Taken from Newsday
“The Constitution is vey clear. The Executive has a responsibility to make sure that all constitutional obligations must be performed without delay. The Executive must show the requisite political willingness and to date, we should say we have not seen much in this regard relating to the implementation of the provisions of the country’s law to establishing the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission,” Kuveya said.
Heal Zimbabwe Trust director Rasheed Mahiya said the NPRC would be vital in reducing the unease calm in the country.
“We have negative peace in the country and the NPRC is at the core of the country’s turnaround. There is a lot of polarisation among the people and a lot needs to be done by the commission,” Mahiya said.
He said given the fact that the NPRC had a limited life-span, “it is important that government does not delay any longer”.
Kuveya said civil society organisations had also engaged Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko, who was given the responsibility for the Organ on National Healing over the issue.
“We have engaged the VP and what we have received as feedback is that government is already working on a draft Bill. A minister has already been tasked with the issue, but we have no time and there is no reason some things cannot be done quickly,” he said.
Kuveya, however, said they were not giving government an ultimatum within a timeline.
“We believe it should be within the reach of government to begin this process of setting up the commission by early next year.
If this is not done, then we will be left with no option, but to approach the ConCourt,” he said.
Zimbabwe Civic Education Trust director Gladys Hlatshwayo said non-governmental organisations and the democratic movement needed to continue putting pressure on government.
“These commissions, including the NPRC, were born out of a struggle and demands by the people. It has never been part of the government’s agenda and we need to keep up the pressure. It is our responsibility as civic society to make sure this provision is implemented,” she said.
“This commission has a 10-year life-span from the date the President assumed office. Now we are already three years into that timeframe, which means if it is to be established now, it will only operate for seven years at the most,” he said.