GWERU residents have demanded that the government act with speed in setting up the long overdue National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) to address past political injustices and other wrongs perpetrated against victims for national healing and reconciliation.
The NPRC is one of the five independent commissions established by the Zimbabwean Constitution whose mandate is to ensure post-conflict justice, healing and reconciliation.
Though section 251 of the Constitution provides for the creation of the NPRC, whose lifespan is 10 years, the commission has not yet been set up two years after the charter was adopted in 2013.
Speaking on the sidelines of the Gweru NPRC one-day information kiosk opened by the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum on Monday, residents said they were surprised by the government’s delay in setting up the commission.
“The government should move with speed in setting up this commission,” James Chiseko from Mambo suburb said.
“Many people suffered during past conflicts, houses were burnt, women and children were raped and this should be addressed as a matter of urgency.”
Another resident, Constance Mariko, said people continued to carry grudges from past conflicts, adding this was not healthy for nation building.
She said people’s emotional and psychological wounds should be healed to bring closure to past injustices.
“If people continue to carry past injustices, I think nation building and development is stalled,” she said.
Dalanda Sibanda from Mkoba suburb said people still carried bad memories about torture from past elections and said these wrongs should be addressed.
Dzikamai Bere, a transitional justice researcher with the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, said indications were that few people knew about the commission.
“There is information starvation among people and the government should do more on awareness campaigns,” he said.