Heal Zimbabwe joins the rest of the world in commemorating International Day of Democracy which is commemorated every year on the 15th of September. The United Nations (UN) theme for this year’s commemorations: Space for Civil Society comes as a confirmation that civil society has a role to play in the democratisation process by affording citizens an opportunity to participate actively in democratic processes.
This year’s theme comes at a time when Government is delaying in setting up one of the Independent Commissions Supporting Democracy, the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC). The NPRC which has a lifespan of ten years has not been set up yet more than 2 years after the country came up with a new constitution. That alone is a cause for concern as it has thrown into doubt the full attainment of democracy.
Section 251 of the Constitution provides for the creation of the NPRC which has a constitutional mandate of bringing about national reconciliation by encouraging people to tell the truth about the past and facilitating the making of amends and provision of justice. Justice is a vital pillar of democracy and as long as victims of electoral violence continue to fail to access justice on past violations, democracy will remain a pipe dream.
Heal Zimbabwe has often used Community Dialogue platforms, Collaborative neutral platforms (nhimbes), NPRC awareness campaigns to engage and converse with important community rights holders and wielders of power which has helped in the prevention and safeguarding of people’s fundamental rights. This has increased citizen participation and has helped safeguard democratic principles.
Heal Zimbabwe implores the Government to swiftly set up the NPRC which ensures post-conflict justice, healing and reconciliation.