Day 3: NPRC Public Hearings Brought to Mutare…. amid uproar from participants over failure by the Thematic Committees to avail NPRC Bills in advance.

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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

 

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