By Nhau Mangirazi
The National Peace and Recreational Commission (NPRC) has warned State actors to stay away from victimising people who air their grievances on politically-motivated violence that gripped the nation, mostly in post-independence era.
NPRC commissioner Charles Masunungure told participants during an outreach programme at Magunje growth point recently that State actors must stay away from victimising people when they present their cases to the body.
He said people must say anything without fear of reprisals in order to make the nation live in peace.
“We are warning mainly State actors that, as a commission, we have a mandate to carry out our business without fear or favour. In doing so, anyone who may want to give evidence before the commission must feel free and do so without fear,” he said.
“Those from State security agencies present here are not here to make follow-ups on whatever you say. Let me make this clear that as we gather here, you are all protected by the law and no one can harass you, even if they are from the security sector. We are all equal before the law.”
Masunungure was part of the NPRC team that visited the province.
“Of late, there were politically-motivated cases of violence swept under the carpet, masamba asiyana hama dzangu (things have changed now). We are a constitutional body and we act to guarantee the protection of those who give evidence,” he said.
Masunungure also revealed that as part of their mandate, all stakeholders, including churches, political parties, traditional leaders and government departments, would form district and provincial peace committees in national building and peace.
An attendant, Panganai Chakanyuka, said the commission risked losing credibility, describing it as “toothless”.
“As it stands, your commission is toothless. It must act and remain independent of political manipulation,” he said.
Another attendant, Rejoice Kubara, said the NPRC must work hard to guard against bias.
“We hope the NPRC will not act with bias like the commission of inquiry led by former South African President Kgalema Motlanthe, which proved it was not independent, besides wasting State resources,” she alleged.
Commissioner Choice Ndoro, who heads the research unit and is the Mashonaland West focal officer, said she was happy that people were taking the initiative as a tool to build peace.