NEWLY formed National Transitional Justice Working Group (NTJWG) has called upon the government to act with speed in setting up the long overdue National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) to enable Zimbabwe to address past injustices and wrongs with a view to taking the country forward.
Section 251 of the Constitution provides for the creation of the NPRC, whose chairperson and eight other members should be appointed by the President after consultations with the Judicial Services Commission and Parliament’s Committee on Standing Rules and Orders.
One of the major mandates of the NPRC is to ensure there is healing and reconciliation in the country.
Taken from Radio Dialogue
Speaking at the Bulawayo Press Club Wednesday, Chairperson of the NTJWG and Human Rights Lawyer, Alec Muchadehama, accompanied by his team, said government had no choice but abide by the supreme law of the land and establish the commission.
“According to the constitution, the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission is supposed to be established and was mandated to deal with transnational justice. Whether politicians don’t like it or not they have no choice but set up this organ so the country and people can move forward after addressing past wrongs,” he said.
Muchadehama said NTJWG was willing to work closely with the commission and had been advocating for its creation since the adoption of Zimbabwe’s constitution.
“Even if there is no political will, we as members of the community can force the politicians to abide by the constitution.”
He added that due to public pressure, politicians would succumb and abide according to the dictates of the law.
“The onus is on us to drive this process and politicians will have no choice but embrace it. Also as members of the community we should also be willing for dialogue. There are some processes that should not be driven by politics. For example there are some people who approached us after having stolen goats from each other but came forward to address the problem,” Muchadehama pointed out.
Dr Ray Motsi, responsible for memoralisation in NTJWG, said as far as reconciliation was concerned, the idea was to recognise various groups that existed in society.
He highlighted there should be no single narrative that must represent or dictate to everyone.
“Towards peace, reconciliation and forgivenesses, we will allow people to bring their different narratives. The problem is there is one or two narratives in the country that have been defining our society,” he said.
Muchadehama weighed in saying while dealing with issues, NTJWG would have no cut off period where any aggrievance committed in whatever period would be addressed.
“We will look at the practicalities of doing that and how far back we can go. Truth and memoralisation of any period is relevant whether it is after 2013, 1965, 1980 or 1987,” he said.
The NTWJP was set up in 2003 by 46 non state actors who decided to form a group that would look at the past wrongs or ongoing wrongs that have been taking place in the country.
The group, which is victim centred is supposed to offer guidance so that these wrongs do not occur again.