Jeffrey Muvundusi 25 January 2017
BULAWAYO – Human rights activists here have blasted government for being
insincere in the implementation of the National Peace and Reconciliation
This comes as the minister of State in Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko’s
office, Tabitha Kanengoni, withdrew the NPRC Commission Bill last May, in
terms of Standing Order 157, prompting Parliament Speaker, Jacob Mudenda,
to discharge it from the Order Paper.
The withdrawal came after civil society organisations lobbied against the
Bill on constitutional reasons, mostly that it compromised the
Commission’s independence and that it was not comprehensive enough to deal
with Zimbabwe’s violent past.
The organisations and members of the public expressed strong opposition to
the Bill during public hearings conducted by Parliament’s Justice, Legal
and Parliamentary Affairs portfolio committee and the Senate thematic
committees on Human Rights, Peace and Security.
“The reasons are that after receiving an adverse report on the Bill, the
ministry has decided to consider those issues that were raised and then we
will resubmit the Bill at a later date,” Kanengoni said.
However, civil rights activists said tabling of a replacement Bill or a
new one to “operationalise” the NPRC must be regarded as a matter of
They said it is unacceptable for government to regard the withdrawal of
the Bill due to the adverse report as an excuse for the prolonged delay.
Speaking on the side-lines of the well-attended prayers to commemorate the
victims of Gukurahundi genocide over the weekend, the activists said they
had been “very disappointed” by the lethargy.
Ray Motsi, from the Zimbabwe Theological College, told the Daily News: “Up
to now, nothing substantial has happened since Mphoko took over. We were
quite happy with the appointment of Cyril Ndebele (the late NPRC
chairman), unfortunately he died, the law has gone back.
“Up to now, we really wonder why Mphoko is there because he has done
The outspoken cleric said the Commission’s establishment was now doubtful
given “the clear lack of political will” on the part of Zanu PF to
“Civic society, churches and ordinary people need to lobby to make sure
this happens because we cannot have a government in power which has a
mandate but they decide on their own outside the Constitution to derail
“I think that is unacceptable,” Motsi said.
Human rights activist, Gifford Sibanda, said “everything is just moving at
a snail’s pace”.
“It’s clear Zanu PF is not committed to this regard. In reality there has
not been any progress,” he said, adding that the minister responsible was
unfit for duty.
“Mphoko came to that particular committee with an attitude that
Gukurahundi was a conspiracy yet everyone knows that it was funded by the
State at the instruction of the commander-in-chief.
“Zanu PF as a political party is guilty of Gukurahundi and many other
post-independence violent activities. As a result, you cannot expect it to
solve these problems. It’s not in their interest, that’s why they have
been trying to pacify the people out of the guise of taking some action,”
Former National Healing co-minister, Moses Mzila-Ndlovu, cast aspersions
on the future of NPRC.
“The Commission that took over the job of the organ of the national
healing will never grow wings as long as Zanu PF is in power. It does not
matter how much you read into the mandate of the NPRC,” he said.
“But the fact is the attitude of Zanu PF is that it remains a lame duck,
it must never fly. So… (it) will always remain a far-fetched dream.”
He further noted that the deployment of Mphoko to the national healing
portfolio was a “tragic example of sabotage of internal process.”