On 24 June 2016, Zimbabwe Civic Education Trust (ZIMCET) and Heal Zimbabwe Trust (HZT) held a policy dialogue and documentary screening seminar on transitional justice processes in Zimbabwe. The seminar attracted fifty (50) delegates who included members from the Parliamentary Committee on Peace and Security and the Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights, government ministries, and members from the Organ on National Healing, Reconciliation and Integration (ONHRI), Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission, Civic Society Organisations (CSOs) and the media.
The objectives of the seminar were to facilitate a policy dialogue on two policy papers produced by ZIMCET and HZT on national healing in Zimbabwe and to share the outcomes of community views that the two organisations collected on the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) process as well as to push for the expeditious tabling of a replacement NPRC Bill. During the seminar a documentary, entitled Zimbabwe National Healing: Voices from Below was screened which chronicled the activities that were carried out by ZIMCET and HZT in Zaka, Hurungwe, Buhera, Murehwa, Gokwe and Bikita since 2014. During collaborative neutral platforms (nhimbes) that were held in these locations, community members shared their views and expectations on the NPRC as well as their views on the NPRC Bill that was gazetted in December 2015.
The dialogue seminar also offered an opportunity for Mrs Anna Tinarwo, a representative from the Organ on National Healing, Reconciliation and Integration to give an update on the status of the NPRC operationalisation. By the end of the seminar delegates agreed on the following resolutions:
- The NPRC must be independent in the discharge of its duties, particularly on its ability to source funding, it’s handling of investigations and should report directly to Parliament.
- There was need for tight timelines on the replacement of the NPRC Bill.
- Given the various interpretations of the meaning of the term “effective date” of the operationalisation of the NPRC, it is important for the Constitutional Court to provide clarity so that communities who need the NPRC are not short charged.
- There is need for coordination among civic society organisations as well as between them and government ministries and departments so that they share information and enhance the national healing process in Zimbabwe.
- There is need for “radical transparency” in coming up with a replacement bill. The government must therefore ensure that stakeholders are adequately informed throughout the process.
- There is need to come up with a Drafting Committee which comprises all stakeholders including civic society to assist the Ministry of National Healing and Reconciliation to come up with a replacement Bill. This will ensure that all the concerns from stakeholders are captured in the replacement Bill and therefore ensure the expeditious enactment of the NPRC Act.
- There is need to ensure that views of ordinary citizens and stakeholders as expressed in the NPRC Bill hearings are reflected in the replacement Bill.
- Based on the fact that there has been no official reports from Parliamentary Committees that conducted the NPRC Bill hearings, it is imperative that these committees produce reports. This will ensure that there is a public record of the NPRC Bill hearings.
- Given the withdrawal of the Bill from Parliament on the basis of condemnation from ordinary citizens and stakeholders, it is important for the relevant authorities to institute wide consultations ahead of the tabling of a replacement Bill in Parliament.
- Government must prioritise the NPRC Bill and display the much needed political will to ensure that the NPRC is fully operationalized.
- Zimbabwe is not implementing its transitional justice process in a vacuum. It is therefore important for the Zimbabwean process to be informed by the international normative framework on transitional justice.
- The Constitution of Zimbabwe provides for reparations and the NPRC must be able to recommend reparations to victims of past human rights abuses based on the principle of fairness and ensure that these are expeditiously implemented whilst the victims are still alive.
- Zimbabwe’s transitional justice processes must consider the use of indigenous transitional justice mechanisms so as to ensure that justice is localised and to compliment other transitional justice mechanisms.
ZIMCET and Heal Zimbabwe will continue to take necessary measures that include lobbying government and other key stakeholders continue to push for an independent NPRC as this is key to sustainable peace in the country.
Visit this link to view the documentary on youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?