THE National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) has been forced to suspend its provincial public hearing meetings on past human rights abuses which were scheduled to start today, following a High Court interdict by the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum.
By SHARON SIBINDI/NQOBANI NDLOVU
In its urgent chamber, the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum argued that it was illegal for the NPRC to roll out its public hearings before the commissions gets a substantive chairperson.
The hearings were supposed to be held in Gwanda and Bindura in Matabeleland South and Mashonaland Central province.
“The NPRC received a notice of an urgent chamber application filled by the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum interdicting the commission from ‘undertaking any stakeholder engagements or any work that is mandated by the constitution to carry out’ until a substantive chairperson of the commission has been appointed,” NPRC deputy chairperson Lillian Chigwedere, said.
“As a result, NPRC, hereby, notifies the nation of Zimbabwe that the provincial consultations that were scheduled for the February 9 in Matabeleland South Province (Gwanda) and Mashonaland Central Province (Bindura) have been postponed to a date to be advised.”
President Emmerson Mnangagwa recently signed into law the NPRC Bill to operationalise the duties of the commission, following mounting pressure to address past human rights abuses before the country goes to the polls later this year.
Zimbabwe has a questionable human rights record emanating from violent episodes that have gripped the country dating back from independence in 1980.
Thousands have been killed, injured and displaced in the violent episodes, with Gukurahundi being cited as one of the worst owing to the scale of magnitude of deaths, with reports saying over 20 000 people were left dead.