Peace and Reconciliation Bill should create safe spaces for women, girls — ZCA

THE Zimbabwe Christian Alliance (ZCA) has hailed the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission Bill but said it should create “safe spaces” and opportunities for women and girls within the affected communities to tell their stories and let their voices heard.

BY MTHANDAZO NYONI

President Robert Mugabe recently swore in commissioners for the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) led by former Speaker of Parliament, Cyril Ndebele.

However, ZCA in a statement last week said the draft Bill needed to include a framework that will create “safe spaces” and opportunities for women and girls, within the affected communities to tell their stories and let their voices heard, without fear.

members of parliament listening to the presidential address

“There is need for clear and adequate provisions to safeguard and protect the women, girls and other victims after the public hearings are done,” reads part of the statement.

ZCA said it is currently carrying out consultations in the 10 provinces on the draft Bill and was in the process of submitting its contributions to Parliament.

“The Bill must allow churches and civic society to work in partnership with NPRC to ensure that most of the communities in Zimbabwe are reached and are afforded the opportunity and platform to engage with the commission and also bring solutions of how their communities could be healed,” it added.

It urged Parliament to speed up the process of debate and public consultations on the draft Bill. It also said the Bill needs to be reviewed to ensure that it creates an enabling framework for women and girls to effectively participate in the national healing process.

ZCA is a coalition of Christian leaders, churches and faith-based organisations concerned about peace building, governance, advocacy and social justice issues.
It has a presence of community hub structures in the country’s 10 provinces and 63 districts

Zimbabwe was plunged into a bloody political violence in 2008 when the ruling Zanu PF party narrowly lost to the opposition MDC led by Morgan Tsvangirai in disputed harmonised elections which forced a presidential election re-run which the opposition party boycotted, citing violence against its supporters.

There are also issues of Gukurahundi where more than 20 000 Ndebele-speaking people were massacred just after independence under the Mugabe regime.

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