GWANDA residents have demanded that the setting up of the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) be people-driven, arguing that a politically-driven process will not achieve the desired results of post-conflict justice, healing and reconciliation.
In interviews carried out at a one-day NPRC information kiosk in Gwanda set up by the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, Centre for Community Development in Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Civic Education Trust and Heal Zimbabwe, residents said an effective NPRC would bring peace, stability and development.
“There is need to increase public participation when setting up the commission which is charged with bringing post-conflict justice, healing and reconciliation, we are surprised to hear that the nomination for commissioners has already been closed,” Mncedisi Moyo said.
Taken from Southern Eye
Sihle Ndlovu another resident said: “Whoever sits on this commission should be a person of high integrity and we will not tolerate commissioners who have a dark past and are themselves violators of human rights.”
The NPRC is one of five independent commissions, whose main purpose is to ensure post-conflict resolution, justice, healing and reconciliation.
Dzikamai Bere, a transitional justice researcher with the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, called upon Parliament to accelerate the NPRC establishment in an open and transparent manner.
“It is clear from our public engagements in different communities that Parliament needs to increase public participation when setting up the NPRC,” he said.
“The aim of the community engagements or information kiosks is to create awareness on the existence of the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission and to push the government to operationalise the commission and activate public participation.”
The non-governmental organisations distributed pamphlets that explain what the NPRC is and outline strategies for members of the public to participate in ensuring that the NPRC is operationalised.
The NPRC, established by Section 251 of the Constitution which came into effect in May 2013, is set to operate for 10 years and has already lost almost two years of its lifespan owing to lack of political will to heal the wounds and bring justice and peace to the nation.
The commission is charged with ensuring post-conflict justice, healing and reconciliation.
In the past three decades after independence, Zimbabwe has experienced a variety of conflicts such as political violence and human rights violations that have left some people bitter and in need of healing.
“The NPRC was a progressive provision in the Constitution, hence the need to raise awareness with the public to demand the NPRC,” Bere said.
“We have almost lost two years.
“There is no justification why this commission has not been established.”
Some of the residents said there was lack of political will to establish the commission.
“The ruling party is busy with factional fights and I do not think they have an appetite for an NPRC. The opposition is too weak, with leaders concentrating on consolidating political power to push for the commission,” Isaac Nyathi, a Gwanda resident said.