Heal Zimbabwe commends the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) for conducting its nationwide stakeholder consultative meetings from 19 February -03 March 2018. The objectives of the consultation meetings were to: 1) enhance stakeholder awareness of the NPRC, its mandate and functions, 2) provide a platform for stakeholders to feed into and shape the strategic priorities of the NPRC and to 3) map the local and regional level capacities for peace, healing and reconciliation. The NPRC is one of the Independent Commissions established under Chapter 12 of the constitution with a mandate to ensure post-conflict justice, healing and reconciliation. The consultations came at a time after President Emmerson Mnangagwa signed the NPRC act into law on 05 January 2018.
To afford communities an opportunity to participate in national healing processes, Heal Zimbabwe mobilized its community peace structures to attend the stakeholder meetings. Some of the topical issues raised by HZT peace structures include the need for the NPRC to set up early warning and early response mechanisms for the early detection of areas of potential conflicts, decentralization of the NPRC and dealing with violent episodes such as Gukurahundi and 2008 political violence.
Below are some of the issues raised by HZT peace structures during the NPRC consultative meetings:
- NPRC must set up early warning and early response systems for early detection of areas of potential conflicts and disputes and take appropriate preventive measures
- The Commission must Decentralize to ward and village level.
- NPRC must raise awareness on the need for peace on radio and other media mediums.
- The NPRC must also share reports of its work with people at the local community level.
- The Commission must be independent when carrying out its mandate.
- Perpetrators of previous human rights violations must be prosecuted.
- NPRC must initiate dialogue among political parties on the need to prevent violence ahead of the 208 elections.
- Victims of past political violence must be compensated.
- The NPRC must put in place mechanisms such as psycho-social support for survivors of Gukurahundi who were raped, and tortured
- The independent Commission must ensure protection of survivors of political violence.
- NPRC must address Gukurahundi and initiate an inclusive healing and reconciliation process.
- Gukurahundi Mass graves such as those at Bhalagwe must be turned into national shrines.
Heal Zimbabwe commends the NPRC for engaging citizens to input into a healing and reconciliation framework. Of special mention is the acknowledgement by the NPRC that building peace is complex and long term hence deserves the input from different stakeholders such as civil society, religious groups among others.
HZT envisions a peaceful and prosperous Zimbabwe that celebrates diversity in local communities. The organization will continue to advocate for a bottom up approach to healing and reconciliation processes.