‘Peace Bill seeks to rob commission of its independence’

BULAWAYO pressure group, Ibhetshu Lika Zulu, yesterday condemned the Peace and Reconciliation Commission Bill, which has gone through its first reading in Parliament, saying the document seeks to rob the commission of its independence by making it work under Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko.

BY SILAS NKALA

“As an organisation we welcome the appointment of this long-awaited commission. We are, however, concerned that the qualifications of the chairperson fall short of the constitutional requirements by far. We have observed that the chairperson, Bishop Emeritus Ambrose Moyo has not practised law for a required minimum of seven years,” Ibhetshu Lika Zulu’ secretary-general, Mbuso Fuzwayo said, in a statement yesterday.

He said the Bill seeks to rob the commission of its independence.

Phelekezela Mphoko

Phelekezela Mphoko

“We are concerned that this will work against the independence of the commission, as it should independently report to Parliament of Zimbabwe through its chairperson, not through any member of the Executive or Cabinet,” Fuzwayo said.

“If allowed to succeed, this will be a gross violation of the Constitution and an assault to the expectations of the people including the vision of the late Vice President John Landa Nkomo, who on his submission to Copac on his letter dated the June 14, 2012 recommended to the select committee the independence of the commission and that it should report to Parliament not to a certain ministry. It should be remembered that the late Vice President was the minister of the Organ for Nation Healing, Reconciliation and Integration, his advice was listened and incorporated into the Constitution.”

Fuzwayo said anything to the contrary will be a violation of Nkomo and the nation’s vision.

“We are further disturbed that the Bill does not in any way seek to provide security for victims of human rights abuses and the perpetrators,” he said. “This will make it impossible for people to come forward with information when their security is not guaranteed. This is a very important issue that legislators must look into, for the success of the commission.”

Fuzwayo said Ibhetshu Lika Zulu takes the matter seriously and will continue to engage all stakeholders on the issue.

“We are convinced that this commission functioning independently and constitutionally, will bring a positive impact on development, heal the wounds and promote peace,” he said.

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