Heal Zimbabwe condemns disruption of NPRC hearings in Bindura and Chinhoyi

Heal Zimbabwe condemns the disruption of   National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) bill hearings in Bindura and Chinhoyi by participants who are believed to be ZANU PF members. On 16 March 2017, participants who were chanting ZANU PF slogans threatened and heckled participants who were making submissions to the Parliamentary team in Bindura. During the course of the hearing, a participants who is a victim of 2008 political violence was threatened with violence as he made his contributions by several participants who were chanting ZANU PF slogans.

The hearing had to be momentarily stopped as participants continued to heckle one another during submissions. On 17 March 2017, during an NPRC hearing in Chinhoyi, participants who were chanting ZANU PF campaign slogans again heckled and disrupted the hearing accusing fellow participants of being opposition party members. This then led to the Parliamentary team led by Honourbale Justice Mayor Wadyajena to stop the hearing as the team had failed to restore order.

Heal Zimbabwe notes that the high levels of intolerance exhibited during the hearings in Bindura and Chinhoyi is worrying and serves to affirm that Zimbabwe is in dire need of healing and reconciliation. Heal Zimbabwe notes that views of people on the provision of any Bill before its enactment is critical as it enhances the democratization processes and the rule of law. Public hearings are one of the key mechanisms to implement section 141 of the Constitution that compel Parliament to facilitate public involvement in its legislative process.

Heal Zimbabwe implores Parliament to look into this untoward behavior demonstrated by participants during hearings, which is a flagrant violation of Parliamentary rules and procedures. Such disruption of public hearings by citizens is a direct disrespect of Parliament and a violation of Section 141 (b) of the Constitution which states that Parliament must, “ensure that interested parties are consulted about Bills being considered by Parliament……… and preserve order in Parliamentary proceedings”. Public involvement in public hearings is therefore a constitutional requirement that is a positive step towards the attainment of democracy.