Residents doubt independence of reconciliation commission

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Kariba residents are worried that many of the applicants interviewed for the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) have strong political links which could compromise the work of the new constitutional body.

BY NUNURAI JENA

Speaking to NewsDay in Nyamhunga suburb on Monday during a one-day NPRC outreach meeting organised by the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, some residents said politicians and those closely linked to politicians should not be appointed as commissioners
Thirty candidates were interviewed for the commission early this month.

“It’s worrying that some of the names on the Peace Commission have close links to some politicians some of whom were involved in human rights violations,” Mthelisi Nhuta said.

“I believe that an effective Peace Commission should have non-partisan commissioners.”

Tatenda Chivoni said the NPRC should be independent especially from political forces.

“It will be just like many other commissions that we have had before, a commission whose results we will never see,” he said.
Other residents slammed Parliament for the delay in setting up the commission which only has a 10-year mandate from the date that the new Constitution was adopted in May 2013.

The commission will by this Friday have lost two operational years with no clue as to when it will become operational.

“Politicians have always taken voters for granted and they should be answerable to us. Why have two years gone by without the NPRC?” Moses Zivai, a Nyamhunga resident, queried.

The NPRC will have eight commissioners and a chairperson appointed by President Robert Mugabe from 16 names submitted to him by Parliament’s committee on Standing Rules and Orders that was responsible for the interviews. Parliament has dragged the process with interviews done this month yet the legislature called for nominations last year.

Macyline Mawadze said the government and ordinary Zimbabweans should be prepared to resource the commission.

“I think we should contribute resources to enable this commission to do its work. We are fed up with violence and the culture of impunity, ” said Mawadze.

The NPRC is one of the five independent commissions established by Chapter 12 of the Constitution to support and entrench human rights and democracy, to promote constitutionalism and to ensure that injustices are remedied among other objectives. The main purpose of the NPRC is to ensure post-conflict justice, healing and reconciliation.