Mugabe urged to value the National Peace and Reconciliation Bill

Lovemore Lubinda

The Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace in Zimbabwe (CCJPZ) have called on Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe to command current Parliamentary Session to value debate on the National Peace and Reconciliation Bill.

CCJPZ said in a statement that it was disappointed after the President’s address during the opening of the fourth session of the eighth Parliament of Zimbabwe on 6 October 2016 did not take into account the bill, despite it being urgent. The President gave an outline of bills to be tabled in this session for debate, and CCJPZ says the reconciliation bill was not one of them.

“We kindly ask the President to order the current session to prioritise debate on the bill.

“We would like to emphasise that a national peace and reconciliation process in Zimbabwe is long overdue. We have a history of conflict that cannot be simply ignored or procrastinated,” says the commission.

The commission adds that the current situation is such that some no longer effectively take part in public life and national development processes, as there is a feeling of lack of safety, predictability or meaning in Zimbabwe or safe place in which to stay.

CCJPZ says a national peace and reconciliation process will contribute to the eradication of poverty in the country, and enable everyone to contribute effectively to the implementation of the country’s development policies such as the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-economic Transformation (ZimAsset). It says this policy’s success will largely be premised on the judicious exploitation of Zimbabwe’s abundant human resources.

The bill is set to look into issues to be dealt with by the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) that was set up to promote national harmony, peace and tolerance among Zimbabweans. This came at the wake of political violence that has been witnessed in the country for the past few years. The NPRC was set up in 2013 to deal with the past human violations and to promote peace.

However some Zimbabweans have previously slammed the bill saying it leaves a lot to be desired. This came after a parliamentary committee issued a report after public consultations which revealed that citizens had voiced concern that the bill violated the Constitution in limiting the commission’s powers and giving the minister power to intervene with the commission’s operations, saying this would compromise its evidence.