BY MIRIAM MNAGWAYA THE National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) has acknowledged political violence perpetrated by the ruling Zanu PF party on the MDC Alliance led by Nelson Chamisa, but said it would not launch an inquiry on the matter as it has not yet received a formal complaint.
This was disclosed by NPRC deputy chairperson Lilian Chigwedere yesterday on the sidelines of the commission’s preventive dialogue meeting held in Harare.
Chigwedere’s utterances follow reports by Chamisa’s MDC Alliance that its leader survived an assassination attempt during his visit to Mutare last month, while his convoy was attacked in Masvingo and Nyanga where he had gone to conduct rural outreach programmes to garner support ahead of the 2023 elections.
Zanu PF acting spokesperson Mike Bimha has denied the alleged attacks, while acting party political commissar Patrick Chinamasa claimed that Chamisa was attacked because he provoked Zanu PF supporters by encroaching into their territory.
Chigwedere told NewsDay that the NPRC investigation team was on standby and could not immediately act on the matter without a complaint having been lodged with the commission.
She, however, acknowledged that there were political conflicts between Zanu PF and the opposition MDC Alliance.
“With regards to elections, these discussions we are having here are meant to come up with different ways of dealing with election-related conflicts. With regards to the clashes, that is a conflict that is already taking place. As a commission, the way we work is that we send our investigation team to find out what is exactly taking place.
“While we are doing this (discussions), we are in the process of getting a team. But our team usually goes to do investigations if there have been reports made to the commission. We just don’t say there is a conflict and rush to do investigations. No one has come to the commission with a complaint. We are just hearing it from the media, but as a commission, we are just putting our team on standby.”
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She said there was need for the NPRC, together with peace committee members, to work towards curtailing recurrence of political violence in the country.
“Currently, there was an increasing shift in focus on the 2023 elections. In order to guarantee non-recurrence of perennial election-related conflicts, the onus is on you to engage robustly and deliberately in preventive dialogues with all stakeholders, to ensure that re-emergence of past experiences are curtailed.
“The setting up of peace committees to contribute towards the promotion of peace through dialogue, mediation and conciliation of disputes among communities, individuals and groups as well as the implementation of programmes deemed necessary for the prevention of conflicts all fall squarely with the constitutional mandate of the NPRC.”
Chigwedere urged government and citizens to work together to end political conflict.
Meanwhile, in a speech read on her behalf by her deputy director Kumbirayi Chimusoro at the NPRC event, Mashonaland East Provincail Affairs minister Aplonia Munzverengi raised concern over the recurrence of election violence in the country.
She urged the NPRC to facilitate grassroots dialogue to promote peaceful elections.
“As you are aware, the country is now geared up for the election period and it is my hope that the peace committees will take the necessary preventative measures to facilitate local level dialogue on how to deal with the cyclical electoral violence, uncertainties and contestations usually associated with our county’s elections,” she said.
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