‘NPRC strategy is a deliberate ploy to delay justice’

The National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) is ‘deliberately’ taking too long to bring about post-conflict justice, healing and reconciliation, a Bulawayo based local pressure group, Ibhetshu LikaZulu has said.

Ibhetshu LikaZulu argues the NPRC has spent most of its time holding consultative meetings instead of taking decisive action, which appears to be a delaying tactic so that issues such as Gukurahundi remain unsolved.

NRPC is one of the five independent commissions established under Zimbabwe’s constitution, whose objective is to promote national healing and reconciliation. It was supposed to come into force on August 22, 2013, but the commission was only operationalised through an Act of Parliament on January 5, 2018, with its mandate scheduled to end in 2023. The High Court later extended its operational period to 2028.

In recent reports, NPRC spokesperson, Commissioner Advocate Obert Gutu said the newly reconstituted commission would start healing consultations with various stakeholders, starting from Harare before proceeding to other provinces.

In an interview with CITE, Ibhetshu LikaZulu Secretary-General, Mbuso Fuzwayo, accused the government of manipulating the NPRC and engaging in time-wasting tactics. “We must look at what the master is trying to achieve, the master is buying time, if you look at what the NPRC has achieved in the past five years, you see a lot of time was spent doing consultations. It’s clear they want to spend another 10 years without reaching out to victims,” he said.

Fuzwayo lamented that instead of healing the victims, time was ‘wasted’ on consultations, which was not the set-out intention of the NPRC. “Plus there has been a creation of many confusing bodies, whose intention is buying time rather than addressing the problem. It’s not surprising and is now clear that the executive is buying time. It does not want to account,” said the human rights activist.

“The executive does not want to address the problems that are affecting people. So Zimbabweans must be clear that the 10-year lifespan of the NPRC has achieved nothing and will achieve nothing.”

Fuzwayo further argued that the failure of the NPRC to carry out its mandate was by design. “It’s not by accident that the executive has manipulated everything. It has created parallel structures, one day they say the (Matabeleland) Collective the next day say the chiefs will do this and that. All these things are not by accident, it’s intentional,” Fuzwayo said.

“The question is when are you going to reach out to the victims of Gukurahundi because if you are to spend a lot of time saying, ‘you will be consulting people in Harare,’ why doesn’t the NPRC build many teams that will go to the ground and reach out to many people.”

Fuzwayo noted that one of the key issues was addressing the mass killings, whereas three decades had passed without accountability and justice.

“It has been over 30 years and the concerned people are dying. If the NPRC was sincere they were going to prioritise Gukurahundi because it’s a genocide,” he said.

“But well because politically there’s no willingness, the perpetrator is in charge and it’s not surprising that victims will die without receiving closure.”

Source: Centre for Innovation and Technology

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