Ahead of the 2023 hamornised elections, the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) is continuing to situate public hearings views from the stakeholders in order to develop a structured plan of transitioning Zimbabwe from a conflictual past to a harmonious peaceful future.
The organisation is being guided by its Constitutional mandate to conduct hearings as it aims to heal the nation from the past of three epochs which are; Pre-Independence (War of Liberation), the 1980s (Gukurahundi), and the 2000s (Electoral Violence).
According to Section 252(C) of the Constitution, the thrust of public and private hearings are aimed at bringing out national reconciliation by encouraging people to tell the truth about the past and facilitating the making of amends and the provision of justice.
In his presentation during a Provincial Peace Committee engagement with Mashonaland Central Province in Harare on the 10th of December 2020, Commissioner Reverend Charles Masunungure said that that it was vital to foster the prevention and non-recurrence of the nation’s dark past.
“The purpose of hearings is to establish the truth in order to facilitate healing, reconciliation, and peaceful co-existence. This will enable the Commission to make appropriate recommendations to the Executive and Legislature regarding the formulation of suitable policies and legislation. We want to prevent what happened not to happen again,” he said.
Comm Reverend Masunungure added that hearings will assist the Commission to make appropriate recommendations to the National Prosecution Authority for prosecution and the President for pardon.
Concerning handling of victims, Section 10 of the NPRC Regulations SI 90/2018 provides for principles governing the handling of victims.
These include respect for dignity, non-discrimination, protection of privacy, and respect for diversity of languages among others.
On the sidelines interview with Comm Reverend Masunungure, he said Section 40-44 of the NPRC Regulations also provides measures for the protection of witnesses and victims in as much as public and private hearings are concerned.
“As we aim to bring about national reconciliation by encouraging people to tell the truth about the past and facilitating the making of amends and the provision of justice, as we try to encompass all the three epochs that are Pre-Independence, the 1980s, and the 2000s, the Commission provides measures for the protection of witnesses and victims.
“These include non-disclosure of identities and personal details of the victims or witnesses, expunging name and other identifying information from the public records of the Commission, use of pseudo among other measures. We believe this will help us in the establishment of truth and make proper amendments and ensure that we build a peaceful nation.”
For 2023 elections to take place in a harmonious way, he said it was of paramount importance to make sure that the wounds of the past are dealt with and healed to curb violent activities.
“With absence of reconciliation, Zimbabwe will remain prone to violence as we prepare to take part in the 2023 Harmonised Elections,” he said.
He also explained that the selected cases will be illustrative. They become a show of the level of violation and each case which comes before the Commission shall be well researched so as to provide appropriate remedy based on the victim’s needs.
The Provincial Deputy Chairperson for Mashonaland Central, Commissioner Lilian Chigwedere urged every Zimbabwean citizen to go and preach about peace and reconciliation as she indicated that this can help in stimulating the development of the nation.