Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Zanu PF slammed over NPRC Bill

By Jeffrey Muvundusi

Human rights activists here have blasted government for being insincere in the implementation of the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC).

Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko
Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko

This comes as the minister of State in Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko’s office, Tabitha Kanengoni, withdrew the NPRC Commission Bill last May, in terms of Standing Order 157, prompting Parliament Speaker, Jacob Mudenda, to discharge it from the Order Paper.

The withdrawal came after civil society organisations lobbied against the Bill on constitutional reasons, mostly that it compromised the Commission’s independence and that it was not comprehensive enough to deal with Zimbabwe’s violent past.

The organisations and members of the public expressed strong opposition to the Bill during public hearings conducted by Parliament’s Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs portfolio committee and the Senate thematic committees on Human Rights, Peace and Security.

“The reasons are that after receiving an adverse report on the Bill, the ministry has decided to consider those issues that were raised and then we will resubmit the Bill at a later date,” Kanengoni said.

However, civil rights activists said tabling of a replacement Bill or a new one to “operationalise” the NPRC must be regarded as a matter of utmost urgency.

They said it is unacceptable for government to regard the withdrawal of the Bill due to the adverse report as an excuse for the prolonged delay.

Speaking on the side-lines of the well-attended prayers to commemorate the victims of Gukurahundi genocide over the weekend, the activists said they had been “very disappointed” by the lethargy.

Ray Motsi, from the Zimbabwe Theological College, told the Daily News: “Up to now, nothing substantial has happened since Mphoko took over. We were quite happy with the appointment of Cyril Ndebele (the late NPRC chairman), unfortunately he died, the law has gone back.

“Up to now, we really wonder why Mphoko is there because he has done virtually nothing.”

The outspoken cleric said the Commission’s establishment was now doubtful given “the clear lack of political will” on the part of Zanu PF to operationalise it.

“Civic society, churches and ordinary people need to lobby to make sure this happens because we cannot have a government in power which has a mandate but they decide on their own outside the Constitution to derail that process.

“I think that is unacceptable,” Motsi said.

Human rights activist, Gifford Sibanda, said “everything is just moving at a snail’s pace”.

“It’s clear Zanu PF is not committed to this regard. In reality there has not been any progress,” he said, adding that the minister responsible was unfit for duty.

“Mphoko came to that particular committee with an attitude that Gukurahundi was a conspiracy yet everyone knows that it was funded by the State at the instruction of the commander-in-chief.

“Zanu PF as a political party is guilty of Gukurahundi and many other post-independence violent activities. As a result, you cannot expect it to solve these problems. It’s not in their interest, that’s why they have been trying to pacify the people out of the guise of taking some action,” Sibanda said.

Former National Healing co-minister, Moses Mzila-Ndlovu, cast aspersions on the future of NPRC.

“The Commission that took over the job of the organ of the national healing will never grow wings as long as Zanu PF is in power. It does not matter how much you read into the mandate of the NPRC,” he said.

“But the fact is the attitude of Zanu PF is that it remains a lame duck, it must never fly. So… (it) will always remain a far-fetched dream.”

He further noted that the deployment of Mphoko to the national healing portfolio was a “tragic example of sabotage of internal process.” Daily News