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NPRC report: Lawmakers poke holes



LAWMAKERS have poked holes into the 2023 National Peace and Reconciliation (NPRC) report, saying it has failed the litmus test of resolving Zimbabwe’s political and electoral crisis since the Gukurahundi era.


The NPRC, set up in 2013, was supposed to be dissolved last year at the close of the 9th Parliament before the August 2023 general elections, after it lapsed its 10-year tenure in accordance with section 251 (1) of the national constitution.

In its report, the NPRC said it received 105 new cases in 2023, with 75.4% (104) being resolved following investigations conducted in various provinces.

The report also shows that Masvingo province received the highest number of complaints, accounting for 25% of the total complaints, followed by Mashonaland East with 21%.
Bulawayo province had no report followed by the Midlands where three cases, representing for 0.03%, were recorded.

The NPRC said it conducted peace education and election peace observations before the electoral period, and engaged political parties through multi-party liaison committee meetings which were convened by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec).

However, MPs have torn into the report, saying it did little to resolve long-standing political conflict, while failing to mend the country’s polarised environment.

“The commission ought to have interrogated much more deeply the issue of negative peace and positive peace to ascertain whether the 2023 elections were peaceful or not. On page nine, the report applauds traditional leaders for promoting peace and [the report] fails to acknowledge the fact that traditional leaders were often abused and reduced to political commissars of the ruling party,” said CCC proportional representation MP for Harare, Gladys Hlatywayo.

“A case in point was the much-publicised Honourable Senator Chief Charumbira’s contravention of section 281 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe by participating in partisan politics and openly declaring allegiance to the ruling party. He further went on to disregard a High Court order that had rebuked him for his conduct and directed him to withdraw his statements. Various civil society organisations, including New Zimbabwe Trust and Zimbabwe Peace Society, also reported the partisan distribution of government inputs and food aid by some traditional leaders.”

Hlatywayo shot down the NPRC’s claim that political parties in Zimbabwe had free campaigns, with the CCC, then led by former leader Nelson Chamisa having more than 140 rallies that were banned and violently disrupted.

The bans saw the police commander of the 2023 general elections, Commissioner Ndofandaedza Jaboon, writing a Memorandum on 8 July saying that rallies must not be banned out of partisan whim as that triggers political tensions and discredits the electoral process and elections. Jaboon said rallies should only be stopped when there are compelling reasons in terms of the law.

Hlatywayo said the NPRC failed to deal with past injustices, including the 1980-86 Gukurahundi genocide in Matabeleland and the Midlands in which an estimated 20 000 people were killed.

Other past violent epochs include the 2008 post-election violence where civil society organisations reported that more than 500 opposition activists were brutally murdered in cold blood.

“The commission failed to undertake any activities that were aimed at establishing the truth of what happened in past and present conflicts. No reparations were made to the victims of past human rights abuses,” Hlatywayo said.

“The commission also failed to establish guarantees for non-recurrence through deliberately ensuring the existence of strong and independent institutions. Political violence also continues to ravage society with impunity.”

The Zanu PF legislator for Hurungwe East, Kangausaru Chenjerai, added his voice, saying the NPRC has a gender bias, thus disregarding the experiences of women and persons with disability within marginalised communities.

“We must actively seek out their narrative and ensure their voices are heard loud and clear in the reconciliation process. Research by UN Women emphasises the importance of gender sensitivity approach to peacebuilding. When women are included in the dialogue, peace agreements tend to be more sustainable.

“I want to applaud the commission on its overwhelming strides in resolving 104 reported conflict cases out of 138 cases. Most of these conflicts have been instigated by early child marriages and abuse. Such efforts show the commitment of the Commission towards peaceful community committed to development.

Kangausaru said should consider training women for facilitators ensuring officers possess the skills, competence and knowledge to conduct gender sensitivity dialogue, while reaching out to women’s groups and disability groups within marginalised communities.

Warren Park MP Shakespear Hamauswa said there should be an inclusive platform to promote peace. 

“If you see 47% of the reports going to NPRC and being political conflicts, it is therefore cause for a genuine and legitimate platform for political parties to actually sit down and discuss the kind of Zimbabwe which is good for everyone. In the report we also noted that the NPRC is now departing from function (d) as outlined in the constitution, which defines the functions of the NPRC. These call for the NPRC to create a platform for national dialogue, especially for political parties. 

“Therefore, without that, we are not going to have lasting peace in this country. If you check and take a cue from the international politics, the reason why the United Nations survived is because the bigger elements were involved. The bigger political players were involved. If political players are not taking part, we are not going to see the commission doing its work.”

Organised violence and torture cases were recorded before and after the general elections, with more cases being recorded against prominent opposition members.

For instance, in August 2023, CCC member Tinashe Chitsunge was killed in politically-motivated violence by suspected Zanu PF activists at a rally in Harare’s Glen Norah suburb, sparking a public outcry.

Eyewitness accounts said he was stoned to death while trying to flee from a Zanu PF mob.
In November, CCC youth quota MP Takudzwa Ngadziore was saved by a seven-minute-long Facebook Live video he was recording after learning that he was being followed by AK47-wielding assailants.

Ngadziore was found tortured, battered and naked, also allegedly injected with an unknown substance before being dumped in the Christon Bank area near Mazowe, a few kilometres from Harare.

A sack was placed over his head, after which the assailants proceeded to thoroughly beat him up as the vehicle drove away. Despite the clear video footage showing his attackers, no arrests have been made.

In December, cleric Tapfumaneyi Masaya was abducted, tortured and killed in Mabvuku, Harare, while campaigning for the Citizens’ Coalition for Change (CCC) candidate Munyaradzi Kufahakutizwi, who was recalled from Parliament by self-proclaimed secretary-general Sengezo Tshabangu.

Kufahakutizwi, who was barred from contesting the polls, was replaced by President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s ally, the Zanu PF gold baron Pedzai “Scott” Sakupwanya.

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