Introduction
The first term of the commissioners of the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) ended on 24 February 2021, after five years of national service. The NPRC commissioners except for the Chairperson were sworn in during 2016 for a five-year term which has now ended. The NPRC currently has eight vacancies because of the resignation of one commissioner in February 2020 and the ending of the first term of office for the other seven commissioners. In anticipation of these vacancies arising within the NPRC, the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders (CSRO) of the Parliament of Zimbabwe called for public nominations of persons to serve as NPRC commissioners in November 2020. The nominations were closed on 4 December 2020 and the CSRO has now shortlisted thirty candidates for interviews to fill the eight vacancies.

Commissioners have a significant impact on the work of the NPRC and its ability to effectively deliver on its mandate which is of great national importance. The functions of the NPRC include the following:

  • To ensure post-conflict justice, healing and reconciliation;
  • To develop and implement programmes to promote national healing, unity, and cohesion in Zimbabwe and the peaceful resolution of disputes;
  • 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;
  • To develop procedures and institutions at a national level to facilitate dialogue among political parties, communities, organisations, and other groups, to prevent conflicts and disputes arising in the future;
  • To develop programmes to ensure that persons subjected to persecution, torture,and other forms of abuse receive rehabilitative treatment and support;
  • To receive and consider complaints from the public and to take such action regarding the complaints as the Commission considers appropriate;
  • To develop mechanisms for early detection of areas of potential conflicts and disputes, and to take appropriate preventive measures;
  • To do anything incidental to the prevention of conflict and the promotion of peace;
  • To conciliate and mediate disputes among communities, organisations, groups,and individuals; and
  • To recommend legislation to ensure that assistance, including documentation, is rendered to persons affected by conflicts, pandemics,or other circumstances.

NPRC commissioners as those entrusted to lead the NPRC play a pivotal role in facilitating the effective discharge of the NPRC’s mandate. It is therefore crucial that the people appointed as NPRC commissioners be people that can build citizens’ trust in the Commission and give validity to its work.

In this analysis, the National Transitional Justice Working Group (NTJWG) gives a detailed outline of the appointment process and the requisite characteristics of commissioners. An understanding of the appointment process and who must be appointed is key to building an effective NPRC that will make headway in bringing much-needed national healing, reconciliation, sustainable peace,and guarantees of non-recurrence of gross human rights violations.

Read the full statement here (203KB PDF)

Source: National Transitional Justice Working Group