UN Day of Peace: Zim Govt Urged to Set-up Peace and Reconciliation Commission

By Sij Ncube

Harare, September 21, 2015 – AS ZIMBABWE Monday joined the rest of the world in commemorating the International Day of Peace, pressure piled on President Robert Mugabe’s government to move with speed to set up a peace and reconciliation commission to deal with prevailing political polarisation which has claimed several lives of innocent citizen.

Although the country is generally regarded as peaceful, independent human rights organisations have since 2000 recorded incidents of political killings and other human rights violations blamed on political motivated violence.

The alleged disappearance of political activist Itai Dzamara is seen as another example Zimbabwe is not a peaceful country where divergent political views are not entertained. Last week the courts granted an MDC-T supporter an order to be paid $6000 by known Zanu PF thugs who brutalised him in the run-up to the June 2008 presidential run-up. .

In separate statements, human rights organisations reminding Mugabe’s government that peace and stability are the only guarantees of sustainable human rights observance.

The 2015 theme is: Partnerships for Peace – Dignity for all, which centralises global, hence Zimbabwe’s national focus, on the importance of various stakeholders, collaborating in concrete peace-building also as a precursor to sustainable human rights protection.

The Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZImRights) said since there could not be comprehensive peace without reconciliation, truth-telling and transitional justice, it called upon Mugabe’s administration to set up the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) as required by Section 251 of the new Constitution to publicly facilitate the same process.

 Section 252 (e) describes one of the functions of the NPRC as to “develop programmes to ensure that persons subjected to persecution, torture and other forms of abuse receive rehabilitative treatment and support.”

ZimRights said the Zanu PF government should comprehensively implement the human rights-charged new Constitution as a social pact among Zimbabweans for a more harmonious coexistence of various political, social, cultural and economic interests.

“The necessary partnerships for sustainable peace cannot be achieved without adequately supporting the constitutionally provided and publicly agreed Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) to deter violations that result in community conflict,” said Okay Machisa, the national director of ZimRights.

Unresolved elections conflicts, which have seen the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) boycott recent by-elections, including the June 10 Hurungwe West by-elections marred by considerable violence, and internal succession battles in the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF) that saw clashes at the Heroes’ Acre burial of National Hero, Dr. Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, on Saturday, September 19, 2015, all point to the fact that there is need for an inclusive society, and that there are challenges that still stand in the way of sustainable peace in the country, he said.

Zimrights appreciates the work that has been done by various stakeholders in ensuring that there is a significant reduction of political violence, whose past effects remain widespread and unresolved.

“As ZimRights we will continue to seek an end to human rights violations in communities as a way of guaranteeing long-lasting peace,” he said