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Independent Commissions must be impartial and deliver on their constitutional mandate

Community members from Zaka and Gutu have expressed concern over the lack of swift response by the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) and the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) after resurgence of politically motivated violence in Masvingo.

This came out during Social Cohesion Dialogues organised by Community Peace Clubs (CPCs) established by communities working with Heal Zimbabwe in the two districts between 25 and 26 October 2021.Participants noted that voter mobilisation by political parties has started and that in some cases community members are forced to attend political meetings. Participants also noted that the recent wave of organized violence in Masvingo against opposition party, MDC Alliance President, Nelson Chamisa tainted the possibility of violent free elections in 2023.”The resurgence of political violence in Masvingo is worrying and it shows that political intolerance and polarization has reached shocking levels”, said one participant. Participants also expressed concern over lack of swift action by the NPRC and NPRC over the incidences of violence.”What is really the role of these commissions? In terms of the constitution, these commissions are mandated to support and entrench human rights and democracy but we have not seen them condemning or even investigating the violence. This forces us to question if they are really independent and impartial” added another participant. As part of resolutions, the peace clubs resolved to continue documenting and reporting cases of human rights violations to the responsible institutions and also continue mediating conflicts in a bid to build social cohesion in local communities.

The meetings by Heal Zimbabwe are part of efforts to empower local communities to help safeguard against human rights abuse and also help build peaceful communities. Heal Zimbabwe utilizes various strategies to address conflicts in local communities. One of these ways is the use of community dialogues, an initiative for communities to discuss and collectively identify ways through which they can proffer solutions to problems in their communities. The platforms also equip communities with relevant information on Covid 19, Gender Based Violence (GBV) and human rights. Such   platforms also facilitate local level conversations on pertinent issues affecting communities as well as create socially cohesive communities.

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