Peace Concert in Pictures

Monday, 26 March 2018 by

Traditional leaders are critical stakeholders in the promotion and preservation of peace in local communities. They have a constitutional obligation of resolving disputes amongst people in their communities which brings peace and development in local communities. Chapter 15 of the constitution acknowledges that Traditional leadership plays a key role in the prevalence of peace and facilitation of development.

It is in pursuit of the realization of such a role that Heal Zimbabwe Trust (HZT) in partnership with Zimbabwe Civic Education Trust (ZIMCET) conducted a Traditional Leaders Capacity building workshop in Masvingo at Nyuni Mountain lodge on the 18th of May 2016. The meeting was attended by 29 traditional leaders (4 women and 25 men) mainly village heads from Bikita and Zaka. The objectives of the workshop were to raise awareness on the roles and responsibilities of traditional leaders as enshrined in chapter 15 of the constitution as well as raising awareness on the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) and the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC).

The workshop’s major highlight was   the roles and responsibilities of Traditional leaders as stipulated in Chapter 15 of the constitution where they play a pivotal role in the protection and promotion of human rights in their communities. They were also educated on the roles and functions of the NPRC and the role of Traditional leaders in the promotion of peace and reconciliation in their communities.

The traditional leaders bemoaned the interference of political parties in their work and highlighted that in some cases they are given directives by politicians to influence food assistance beneficiary selection in a partisan manner. Some indicated they are at times instructed to mobilise villagers for development work or benefits on political party lines.   This they argued has compromised the discharge of their duties in their communities.

The traditional leaders however agreed on a community plan of action that include spreading the message of peace through collaborative neutral platforms (nhimbes) and community dialogues in their respective communities. This would help in the promotion of peaceful co-existence in local communities. The community collaborative neutral platforms (Nhimbes) and Community dialogues are some among many activities used by communities working with Heal Zimbabwe to enhance social cohesion and building social capital as well as spread message of peace tolerance.

 

Heal Zimbabwe welcomes the call made by the Minister responsible for National Healing, peace and reconciliation, Vice President Phekezela Mphoko to address past human rights violations through dialogue, truth telling and forgiveness for national healing to succeed. VP Mphoko noted that this would address the root cause of physical, emotional and traumatic experiences and mend broken relations. VP Mphoko said this while presenting a topic at the National Defence College on National Healing, Peace and Reconciliation.

In his presentation, VP Mphoko said, “Matters of the need to reconcile people and bring about national healing have remained partially addressed or not addressed for a very long time leading to carryover of conflicts. These conflicts have affected the lives of everyone as they have been carried forward from one generation to the other”, he said.

Heal Zimbabwe commends this significant step as being in the right direction at the level of political will to push an important national process.  However, Heal Zimbabwe posits that the call for dialogue should be followed by sincere actions through expeditiously setting up of the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC). This independent commission is under the VP’s authority and is mandated to develop and implement programmes to promote national healing, unity and cohesion in Zimbabwe and the peaceful resolution of disputes.

The call by VP Mphoko come at a time when  his office  has withdrawn the National Peace and Reconciliation bill from Parliament indicating that the Ministry found it fit to consider the adverse report by the Parliamentary Legal Committee. Withdrawing the Bill is also commendable. However,VP Mphoko should show his commitment to the process by tabling before parliament a replacement NPRC Bill at the soonest possible time.

Kuwirirana peace club in Gutu Ward 41 is one of many such community structures that works with Heal Zimbabwe in Gutu. The peace clubs recently successfully   utilized a traditional form of collaborative neutral platforms known as nhimbes/ilima to resolve community conflict and promote social cohesion to ensure peaceful coexistence in their community.

Following a capacity building process through trainings that was carried out early 2016 , the peace clubs managed to carry out  a conflict mapping exercise in their area, where they were identifying conflicts  in their area. Among the conflicts identified include the fact that transport operators in the area were now shunning the route, which connects Mutema  and Mukundi business centers, because the road was in a bad state. The community in Ward 31 which boarders Ward 41 had created a culture of repairing the road as it passes through their ward but in ward 41 the same road was neglected till transport operators cancelled the route. Makuku Bus Company, the only one that is still servicing the route was now threatening to withdraw its services. This created transport problems for the whole community and those in ward 31 were blaming those in ward 41 that because they neglected the road, this has led to transport operators to shun the route.

Realising the impending danger and its effects to the two communities, Kuwirirana peace club led by Headman Mutema decided to address it by coming together and engage in the important collective responsibility through a nhimbe. Through the Headman, the peace club invited 26 Village heads from the two wards. The Village heads mobilized their community members for the nhimbe since the road served everyone. While the major outcome of the process was road repairing, the Peace club also utilized the platform to raise awareness on the importance of peace in the community. In his opening remarks, Headman Mutema highlighted the importance of the prevalence of peace. “Today we are gathered here as one community to work on something very important to all of us, this road serve all of us including our neighbours in ward 31  and this shows that if we are united, we can champion peace and development in our area”, he said.

The nhimbe managed to prove the importance of collective responsibility and the need for social cohesion in successful community development work. Headman Maworera of Ward 31 acknowledged that the nhimbe had managed to avert potential conflicts and bad social relations that were beginning to gather. “Today is a historic day for us in our area, indeed peace is important for development, I would like to thank the Peace club in Ward 41 which organized this nhimbe, today we have been united by the need for development”, he said. Headman Maworera also indicated that he would want to set up a peace club in his area as it has proved that it can help resolve conflict and build peace.

Collaborative neutral platforms (nhimbes) are organized by peace club with support from Heal Zimbabwe as a way of promoting community led activities that seek to build peace in local communities. Through linking development and peace, the activities encourage communities to come together for the common good and work on potential sources of conflict in a bid to address and manage conflict before it escalates into violence.  This nhimbe in Gutu is one among many initiatives by Heal Zimbabwe to build peace in local communities.

Heal Zimbabwe Trust welcomes the move by the Minister responsible for National Healing, Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko’s Office to withdraw the National Peace and Reconciliation Bill from Parliament. The Minister of state in the VP’s Office Tabitha Kanengoni Malinga, indicated that the ministry found it fit to first consider the adverse report by parliamentary Legal Committee.

“I move to withdraw the NPRC Bill for reasons that after receiving an adverse report on the Bill, the ministry has decided to consider those issues and then we will re-submit the Bill at a later date,” she said.

 Heal Zimbabwe is on record for calling for an overhaul of the bill as condition for  an effective national peace, healing and reconciliation process. Topical during the public consultations by parliament on the Bill was the powers it gives to the Minister responsible which erodes the independence of the commission, the prosecuting language in the bill, lack of clarity on decentralization strategy among many other ills.

Heal Zimbabwe calls upon the Ministry to stand guided by both the constitution and, more importantly, the views of the people of Zimbabwe  as expressed  during the parliamentary public consultations. We further implore the ministry to deal with the issues expeditiously to ensure commencement of  the parliamentary processes leading to the enactment of the law and effective operationalisation of the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission.

The last hearing on the National Peace and Reconciliation (NPRC) bill was held today in Harare at Parliament building in the Senate Chambers. Approximately 115 people attended the hearing. The hearing allowed Harare residents to scrutinize and make submissions on the bill.

 

The hearing in Harare, just like previous hearings saw the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs failing to provide copies of the bill to participants before the hearing. The Committee had to assign the arduous task of summarizing the bill to Honourable Jessie Majome.

 

The most dominant issues that came out during the meeting revolved around the vast powers given to the Minister of National Healing who has sweeping powers that see him issuing a certificate to prevent a hearing and is the only one with the discretion to approve funding for the Commission. Other  issues raised  include the use of prosecuting language in the bill which scares away people from reporting their cases and  failure by the bill to clearly state how justice will be achieved for those whose rights were violated.

Below are some of the views raised during the hearing:

 

a) The bill reduces the Commission to an Executive Commission where the Minister enjoys   excessive powers.

b) The bill doesn’t encourage truth telling and it contradicts several provisions in the constitution.

c) The bill uses too much prosecuting language which scares away victims.

d) The bill ignores the role of Traditional mechanisms in peace building and   reconciliation.

e) How will the bill deal with those who lost their savings and jobs?

f) The Minister is a politician, this compromises the work of the NPRC.

g) The bill fails to acknowledge the importance of reparations and neglects the key role played by the church in reconciliation and healing.

h) The bill should be clear on the issue of periodization and should highlight violence prevention measures.

i) The bill should protect the victim and not the perpetrator.

j) The bill should clearly define the type of peace to be achieved by the Commission and elaborate clearly the types of violations the Commission will entertain.

k) How will the bill deal with those in the Diaspora who had their  rights violated?

l) The bill should deal with Gukurahundi and violations that took place during the colonial era.

m) The bill should investigate all political parties that continue to perpetuate violence.

n) The bill should bar security personnel from intimidating people in rural areas.

o) The bill should guard against disregard of the constitution particularly by the Executive.

p) The bill should encourage Traditional leaders to promote peace.

q) The bill must compel Government to fully fund the NPRC for it to work effectively.

r) Government should issue a public  apology for the delays in setting up the NPRC.

s) The bill should empower the Commission to be independent.

t) The NPRC must be decentralized.

u) Why hasn’t government utilized the findings from previous Commissions such as the Dumbutshena and Chihambakwe?

 

In his concluding remarks, Honourable Nyambuya assured participants that all the views collated during all the hearings shall be used to compile a comprehensive report on the bill which will be used during the debate on the bill in Parliament.

 

The public hearing on the bill have concluded  against a background where Heal Zimbabwe, between January and March 2016, conducted 13 public meetings and 67 consultative meetings with 1 235 people  on the Bill targeting marginalized communities that were most affected by violence and conflicts. The objective of the public meetings was to enhance public participation and input to the Bill. The organisation shall also release a preliminary report by end of this week on the public hearings.

 

 

 

Heal Zimbabwe condemns the assault of Patson Dzamara by state security agents after he peacefully protested before the VIP tent at the National Sports Stadium soon after the President’s address on Independence day. According to Dzamara’s lawyer, the demonstration might have angered State security agents who saw him waving a placard, demanding the President to account for his missing brother, Itai, who was allegedly abducted near his Glen View home last year.

Patson Dzamara was allegedly forced to drink lots of water, forced to kneel in an uncomfortable position, assaulted with booted feet and fists, and later interrogated at Harare Central Police Station. Such inhuman treatment is a violation of Section 53 of the Constitution which states that no person may be subjected to physical torture, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

The attack on Dzamara came soon after President Mugabe, in his independence speech, outlined the gains of Independence which key among them is the promotion and safe guarding of fundamental human rights which include freedom to demonstrate and petition. Section 58 of the Constitution that seeks to defend and uphold the gains brought by independence, provide for freedom to demonstrate and petition peacefully.

The attack on Dzamara on Independence Day fuels doubt over Government’s lack of commitment to respect, tolerate and promote human rights. Heal Zimbabwe remains worried by Government’s lack of respect for fundamental human rights which are provided for by the constitution.

Heal Zimbabwe calls on Government to inculcate a culture of tolerance and respect of fundamental human rights which are explicitly provided for by the Constitution for all to enjoy. And also calls upon the same Government to provides answers for the disappearance of the human rights activist, whose whereabouts remain a mystery more than a year since his disappearance.

 

 

Today, 13 April, 2016, the Parliament of Zimbabwe conducted a National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) Bill public hearing in Mutare, the only consultative platform for Manicaland Province. Approximately 150 people attended the meeting. The hearings are part of the National Assembly’s public consultations on ‘the national healing and reconciliation legislation.’ Other four hearings have been conducted already in Kwekwe, Gweru, Gutu and Masvingo urban. The countrywide consultations are taking place between 11th & 20th of April 2016.

The public hearing in Mutare commenced with tension as Senator Mumvuri refused to summarise the NPRC Bill to members of the public present. He argued that responsible members of Parliament should have done so prior to the meeting. However, the friction was fixed when Hon. Gonese summarised the Bill. It is HZT ‘s contention that the Members of Parliament leading public consultations on the NPRC should allow communities to understand the contents of the Bill before soliciting their views. The public has the right to adequate information and knowledge in order for them to make meaningful contributions to this important legislation.

There were candid contributions from the people. Some of the contributions that dominated public views regarding the Bill are that

  1. a) The Bill must prevent future electoral violence by banning candidates guilty of fanning violence from contesting.
  2. b) The NPRC should receive donations without the need for approval from the Minister responsible for national healing.
  3. c) The NPRC Bill must stipulate that the Commission will be decentralised to the lowest community level.
  4. d) The Bill should acknowledge the role of churches and civic society organisations because of their standing in promoting peace, human rights and democracy.
  5. e) The Bill should include transitional mechanisms beyond the lifespan of the NPRC.
  6. f) Land issues be included in the Bill as a reconciliation question.
  7. g) The bill is unconstitutional because it violates some of the constitutional provisions on the Commission’s independence and removal of Commissioners.
  8. h) The bill should be clear on justice- it does not clearly address the different justice mechanisms to be remedied to the survivors of political violence whose rights were violated.
  9. i) The bill should promote and emphasize truth telling in order to bring closure to survivors of violence.
  10. j) The bill should also include security of the Commissioners as their work is sensitive.
  11. k) The bill should put in place provisions that clearly prevent political violence during elections.
  12. l) Compensation should be clearly articulated- there is no healing that happens without compensation.
  13. m) The commission must not report to the Minister since he is appointed by a political party through the President.
  14. n) The bill should focus on the rehabilitation of perpetrators of political violence to guarantee their reintegration and non recurrence of violence.
  15. o) The bill should include a clear monitoring and evaluation plan that reviews the participation of rural grassroots survivors of political violence and evaluate the effectiveness of the Commission in fulfilling its mandate.
  16. p) Another participant differed and highlighted that the bill should not open wounds of past violent episodes like Gukurahundi but instead move on and establish mechanisms that prevent further acts of violence.
  17. q) Another participant who identified himself as a war veteran indicated that the powers of the minister are ok and should be kept like that.

Heal Zimbabwe continues to monitor the public hearings process. Below is the schedule for upcoming public hearings;

Team A  

14 April 2016 Victoria Falls Chinotimba Hall 0900hrs
14 April 2016 Hwange ZPC Social Club 1500hrs
15 April 2016 Plumtree TMB Hall i.e. Plumtree Town Council Hall 1400hrs
16 April 2016 Lupane Lupane Local Board Community Hall 1030hrs
16 April 2016 Bulawayo Bulawayo Holiday Inn 1500hrs
20 April 2016 Harare Senate Chamber 1000hrs

 

Team B

14 April 2016 Marondera Marondera- Mbuya Nehanda Hall Dombotombo 1400hrs
15 April 2016 Bindura Tendai Hall 1300hrs
16 April 2016 Chinhoyi Cooksey Memorial Hall 1400hrs
20 April 2016 Harare Senate Chamber 1000hrs

 

The Second day of the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission public hearings took off today 12 April 2016 in Masvingo and Gweru. The NPRC public hearings are part of the Parliament’s public consultations on the legislation that operationalizes the Commission responsible for national healing, justice and reconciliation. The hearings are taking place from the 11th – 20th of April 2016.

Heal Zimbabwe is concerned about the low turnout of people at the meetings especially yesterday in Gutu and Kwekwe and today in Gweru. The organisation continues to implore all interested stakeholders, political party members, survivors of political violence, ordinary citizens to turn out in their numbers and actively air out their concerns regarding the ills of the bill which were also noted by the Parliamentary Legal Committee through its adverse report.

In Masvingo, Hon Senator Mumvuri opened the meeting by reading out only the functions of the NPRC and did not go through the provisions of the bill as was done in Gweru by Hon Jessie Majome. Another issue of concern raised by community members is that they did not have copies of the Bill. Hon Senator Mumvuri then apologized and stated that it was the responsibility of Members of Parliament to distribute copies of the Bill prior to the meeting.

Key issues emerging from participants are that;

 

  1. The Minister has too many powers that might affect the work of the Commission.
  2. The Bill does not fully protect victims of politically motivated violence.

III.            14-30 days time period of publishing cases is too much such that perpetrators are alerted and witnesses victimized.

  1. The Commission must not report its findings to the Minister but directly to Parliament.
  2. There is need to decentralize the commission to Ward level so that it is accessible to all.
  3. Victims of violence must be compensated and perpetrators punished.

VII.            All investigations must be public and not private so that everyone is well informed of proceedings.

VIII.            The Bill must be based on needs and interests of the victims.

  1. The Bill must also cater for the disabled.
  2. Some of the perpetrators of violence must not be recruited by the NPRC.
  3. Those who lost their pensions due to dollarization must be compensated.

XII.            All police officers that were involved in acts of violence must be fired and;

XIII.            The NPRC needs to work with Civil Society Organisations in order to maximize on the process.

 

The meeting in Masvingo was attended by approximately 300 people and in Gweru a total of 89 participants.

 

The organisation shall continue to monitor and mobilise members of the public to meaningfully participate in the hearings. Please find below the schedule of all the meetings:

 

 

Team A Date Place Venue Time

 

14 April Victoria Falls Chinotimba Hall 0900hrs
14 April Hwange ZPC Social Club 1500hrs
15 April Plumtree TMB Hall i.e. Plumtree Town Council Hall 1400hrs
16 April Lupane Lupane Local Board Community Hall 1030hrs
16 April Bulawayo Bulawayo Holiday Inn 1500hrs
20 April Harare Senate Chamber 1000hrs

 

 

Team B Date Place Venue Time
13 April 2016 Mutare Mutare Civic Centre Hall 1000hrs
14 April 2016 Marondera Marondera- Mbuya Nehanda Hall Dombotombo 1400hrs
15 April 2016 Bindura Tendai Hall 1300hrs
16 April 2016 Chinhoyi Cooksey Memorial Hall 1400hrs
20 April 2016 Harare Senate Chamber 1000hrs

The National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) Bill public hearings commenced today in Kwekwe and Gutu. The NPRC public hearings are part of the Parliament’s public consultations on the legislation that operationalizes the Commission responsible for national healing, justice and reconciliation. The hearings are taking place between 11th – 20th of April 2016 and HZT has mobilised communities to participate albeit short notice.

Heal Zimbabwe observes that the public hearings in Gutu and Kwekwe were conducted without providing members of the public with copies of the Bill so that they are able to read and contribute to the discussions meaningfully. In Kwekwe, Hon. Jessie Majome told the public that the NPRC Bill was sent through the District Administrator’s (DA’s) Office for distribution yet none of the participants received one. In Gutu, the Committee only read the functions of the NPRC and asked people to start providing contributions.

Key issues emerging from the participants are that;

 i) the Minister’s several involvements in the work of the NPRC affects its independence;

  1. ii) the Commission should be allowed to report to Parliament directly instead of going through the Minister;

iii)    (women demanded that) there should be no amnesty for those who committed sexual crimes and rape;

  1. iv) publication of the intended investigations affects the protection of victims –those who would have submitted their complaints;
  2. v) the Bill should follow the constitution particularly on the appointment and removal of Commissioners as well as the appointment of commissioners;
  3. vi) the Bill should be translated into all the 16 languages as enshrined in the constitution so that people can understand it for meaningful participation;

vii)  The public hearings are selective and should be held in all the districts in Zimbabwe,

viii)            There should be a clause that investigates Members of Parliament who perpetrated violence in the past; and

  1. ix) The NPRC should be decentralised so that it can be accessible to all Zimbabweans.

 

An estimated total of 140 and 150 people participated in Kwekwe and Gutu NPRC public hearings, respectively. These figures are too low given the importance of the NPRC. Therefore, Heal Zimbabwe urges Zimbabweans to go out in their numbers to participate in the hearings.  The organisation shall continue to monitor and mobilise members of the public to meaningfully participate in the hearings. Please find below the schedule of all the meetings:

 

 

Team A Date Place Venue Time of Public Hearing
11 April Kwekwe Kwekwe Theatre 1100hrs
12 April Gweru Gweru Theatre 1000hrs
14 April Victoria Falls Chinotimba Hall 0900hrs
14 April Hwange ZPC Social Club 1500hrs
15 April Plumtree TMB Hall i.e. Plumtree Town Council Hall 1400hrs
16 April Lupane Lupane Local Board Community Hall 1030hrs
16 April Bulawayo Bulawayo Holiday Inn 1500hrs
20 April Harare Senate Chamber 1000hrs

 

 

Team B Date Place Venue Time
11 April 2016 Gutu Gutu Council Boardroom 1200hrs
12 April 2016 Masvingo Masvingo Civic Centre Hall 1000hrs
13 April 2016 Mutare Mutare Civic Centre Hall 1000hrs
14 April 2016 Marondera Marondera- Mbuya Nehanda Hall Dombotombo 1400hrs
15 April 2016 Bindura Tendai Hall 1300hrs
16 April 2016 Chinhoyi Cooksey Memorial Hall 1400hrs
20 April 2016 Harare Senate Chamber 1000hrs
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