Peace: The foun­da­tion for de­vel­op­ment

The Sunday Mail (Zimbabwe) - - OPINION & ANALYSIS -

OUR man­date as Na­tional Peace and Rec­on­cil­i­a­tion Com­mis­sion (NPRC) is en­shrined in Sec­tion 252 of the Con­sti­tu­tion of Zim­babwe.

The op­er­a­tion of NPRC was pro­mul­gated on the 5th of Jan­uary, 2018.

Since 2016, the Com­mis­sion was only work­ing on ca­pac­ity-build­ing.

I was then ap­pointed on the 1st of March, 2018. What it means is that the other peo­ple had been in (the Com­mis­sion) for two years and seven months.

They were op­er­at­ing with the Act since Fe­bru­ary; that is when they were able to visit the prov­inces, and you know there was that prob­lem in Mate­bele­land about the com­po­si­tion of the Com­mis­sion.

That stalled our progress and, in fact, there was a stage when they were taken to court by an NGO cit­ing con­cerns that they were not op­er­at­ing prop­erly and had no chair­per­son.

I think af­ter that, we went back to the draw­ing body in order to visit the com­plaints that they had at the time - that the Com­mis­sion did not have a chair­per­son.

We then pol­ished up our op­er­a­tions, we had some ca­pac­ity-build­ing pro­grammes and worked on strate­gic plans.

The strate­gic plan will be per­fected next week (this week) on the 4th of Oc­to­ber; that’s when the fi­nal doc­u­ment will be pro­duced.

We will pro­duce our strate­gic plan for the next five years. It’s un­for­tu­nate I can­not pre-empt the de­tails now.

We looked at what we could do in as far as the strate­gic plan is con­cerned when we had the strate­gic plan sem­i­nar in Bu­l­awayo and then we came up with a fiveyear plan wherein we were able to say what we wanted to do.

Elec­tions

One of the first things we dealt with was the is­sue of elec­tions. We were strongly in­volved in the elec­tions. We were in­volved in the pro­mo­tion of the peace pledges by po­lit­i­cal party can­di­dates.

In the peace pledge, po­lit­i­cal par­ties pledged to be peace­ful and we had that meet­ing on the 26th of June 2018, where those who were as­pir­ing to be the Pres­i­dent par­tic­i­pated. We had 22 peo­ple who as­pired to be the Pres­i­dent.

We ini­tially had 23 pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates, but 22 ac­tu­ally made the pledges.

There­after, we dealt with is­sues of peace pledges from June and the rest of July in the prov­inces.

We also went around en­cour­ag­ing peo­ple to be peace­ful dur­ing the time of elec­tions. We vis­ited all the prov­inces.

We did that us­ing what we called a ‘peace car­a­van’, en­cour­ag­ing Zim­bab­weans to ob­serve peace. What was hap­pen­ing was that we had three ac­tors who would pre­tend to have quar­rels, then, fi­nally, they would strike peace.

That started on the 21st of July to the 28th. We had two car­a­vans as we went around pro­mot­ing peace.

We were all in­volved in the mon­i­tor­ing of the elec­tions.

We were ac­tu­ally ob­servers in all the prov­inces. We di­vided our­selves into the ob­ser­va­tion cen­tres.

Post-elec­tion vi­o­lence

Now, on the dis­tur­bances that took place in Harare (on Au­gust 1), we were not sup­posed to be in the Com­mis­sion that was set be­cause the Act ex­cludes us, par­tic­u­larly when the po­lice is in­volved. If there are in­ves­ti­ga­tions tak­ing place, we should not be in­volved at all, al­though some peo­ple feel we should have been in­volved.

Sec­tion 8 of the (NPRC) Act stipulates that even when a tri­bunal or Com­mis­sion of in­quiry is in­volved, as is the case here, NPRC should not be in­volved. We will wait for the re­port from the Com­mis­sion of in­quiry and then act af­ter that.

Even if we wanted to be in­volved, we are lim­ited by the law.

Our role is to try and heal con­flicts and di­vi­sions through meet­ings. We try to heal that; that’s why we have the rec­on­cil­i­a­tion arm. We have it in our plans now. As it is, we are work­ing on it, we will be go­ing out to the peo­ple.

We will be go­ing out, par­tic­u­larly in ar­eas of Guku­rahundi. We should be vis­it­ing those ar­eas as a mat­ter of ur­gency, and we couldn’t do that be­fore the fi­nal­i­sa­tion of our strate­gic plan, which is go­ing to take place on the 4th of Oc­to­ber 2018.

It is the ap­proach that we will be look­ing into when we have this meet­ing on the 4th of Oc­to­ber.

But maybe let me say, at the be­gin­ning of the year, there was some hos­til­ity (to­wards the Com­mis­sion), but we were then able to go there and talk to the peo­ple dur­ing the time we had the pledges.

The peace car­a­van, the vis­its to those ar­eas, the di­a­logue with the com­mu­ni­ties and or­gan­i­sa­tions in those ar­eas cre­ated some form of un­der­stand­ing with the com­mu­ni­ties in Mate­bele­land.

I was in­vited on Sun­day (last Sun­day) to go and ad­dress a Lutheran Church gather­ing on the is­sue of Guku­rahundi - how I see it, and the di­a­logue was very use­ful.

With help from a man of the cloth, the dis­cus­sions were frank and very help­ful and their ap­proach to peace was ex­cel­lent.

We had been in­vited by UNDP (United Na­tions De­vel­op­ment Pro­gramme) for a func­tion there and most of the ques­tions were cen­tred on the Com­mis­sion, on how we are go­ing to tackle this is­sue. The way we will ap­proach it and how we will talk to the peo­ple will cre­ate a dif­fer­ence.

We will lay out our plans and the me­dia will be in­vited. We will say ex­actly how we will tackle some of these con­flicts that have taken place. It’s a five-year strate­gic plan, which, un­for­tu­nately, I can­not di­vulge the de­tails now.

You will see on the 4th what we are lay­ing out for that pe­riod. Some of the is­sues we de­cided to start with were the elec­tions.

One other thing that has been en­cour­ag­ing is that Pres­i­dent Mnan­gagwa him­self has em­pha­sised and preached peace. He has been open and re­cently you might have heard him say­ing, “Well, I am wait­ing for peo­ple to tell me about the Com­mis­sion and give me a re­port, and when the Com­mis­sion say I must do this, I will cer­tainly do it.”

Yes, I think peace is nec­es­sary. We have to be a peace­ful na­tion. With peace, we will be able to strike de­vel­op­ment and that hon­esty within us of com­ing to­gether in peace will be very help­ful. We will achieve noth­ing if we are not peace­ful. Next week (this week), we will en­gage the Speaker of the Na­tional As­sem­bly, Ad­vo­cate (Ja­cob) Mu­denda so that we have time to talk to par­lia­men­tar­i­ans and preach the mes­sage of peace.

We hope the same mes­sage will also be preached in their con­stituen­cies.

◆ Jus­tice Selo Nare, chair­per­son of the Na­tional Peace and Rec­on­cil­i­a­tion Com­mis­sion (NPRC), was speak­ing to The Sun­day Mail re­porter Nor­man Muchemwa last week.

Jus­tice Selo Nare

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