Civil society organisations have blasted government for its snail pace in the operationalisation of the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC), which they say is critical for lasting peace, stability and economic development of the country.
Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum Executive Director, Lloyd Kuveya said civil society organisations were worried about the government’s reluctance to operationalise the critical organ two years after the adoption of the new Constitution.
“The fact that one of the Vice-Presidents was tasked with overseeing the implementation of the peace and reconciliation framework is testimony to its importance and the immediacy of its consummation is critical,” he said.
Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko is in charge of peace and reconciliation. The NPRC established by the 2013 Constitution has a lifespan of 10 years from the date the Constitution became operational.
Two years on, the NPRC is yet to be operationalised and Mphoko is yet to comment on the delay in bringing into life the constitutional organ.
Kuveya’s remarks come after VP Emmerson Mnangagwa last week said government was committed to the establishment of the NPRC during a question-and-answer session in Parliament.
He, however, said government had no funding to operationalise it.
The NGO Forum boss said development partners were willing to resource the peace commission.
“The issue of resources should not be a stumbling block to the establishment of a secretariat to discharge the mandate of the NPRC as provided for in the Constitution. History has shown that development partners are always willing to fund the work of national commissions,” he said.
“Once the State shows commitment by adopting an enabling act, appointing commissioners and a secretariat, there will be a lot of support from development partners and non-governmental organisations that have been working on a transitional justice framework for Zimbabwe since 2003.”
Kuveya said the African Union, which is in the process of adopting a transitional justice framework for Africa, is also likely to offer support to Zimbabwe on the journey to transform and rebuild the nation.
Clergyman, Ray Motsi said Mnangagwa’s response was indicative of a government that is not concerned with ensuring the healing of its citizenry.
“Reasons given are indicative of government priority. As far as the government is concerned, they do not believe that the setting up of the peace commission is critical. They know what the commission stands for and it is a strategy to delay it,” he said.
Motsi is a member of the National Transitional Justice Working Group (NTJWG), a platform established by 46 non-State actors to provide an interface between transitional justice stakeholders and the official transitional justice processes in Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe has witnessed decades of gross human rights violations that include the Gukurahundi atrocities in the Midlands and Matabeleland regions in the 1980s, but no efforts have yet been put in place to achieve national healing.