THE National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) which has been at “war” with Matebeleland-based political parties and civil organisations have smoked peace pipe with the activists after the commission bowed down to pressure to include perpetrators of atrocities in the healing processes.
NPRC was established through an act of parliament to deal with issues of national healing and reconciliation. However, it recently encountered stiff resistance in Bulawayo and Matebeleland North after supporters of Mthwakazi Republic Party (MRP) and members of other pressure groups in the region interrupted its meetings, accusing the commission of being dominated by Shona speaking people among others allegations.
In an interview with New Zimbabwe, the commission’s recently appointed chairperson, Retired Justice Selo Masole Nare, said they had since addressed some of the concerns raised by Matebeleland stakeholders.
“We have since rectified some of our mistakes. From now on wards, we are going to involve all stakeholders, the victims and the perpetrators in our programmes. We are also going to have background meetings. For instance, one other area we cannot leave out is the involvement of the chiefs because they know what happened in their areas. They know what the position was and so we are going to be visiting them,” said Nare.
He said the commission also recently held a meeting with some political parties in the region.
“Zanu PF is the only party which did not attend the meeting. All other political parties attended the meeting and they all agreed that we should work together so as to bring finality to issues concerning past atrocities,” he said.
Retired Justice Nare said further engagements with political parties have been stalled by the impending elections.
“We want to engage more with political parties but it’s a bit tricky as you know there are elections but we are involved in the elections in order to bring peace. If there is an expulsion somewhere and there are problems we sit down with political parties and find out the way forward. We are going to be very busy during the elections,” said Nare.
On the disruption of the hearings in Bulawayo, Nare said the commission has since engaged the concerned activists and political parties over the issue.
“I would like to stress that whenever the commission’s meetings are at risk of being disturbed, we have the powers to call the police, but in all the incidences in Matabeleland we did not do that. We gave dialogue a change and that worked because we are now working together with those people. Recently Ibhetshu Likazulu members were in Harare and we had a fruitful meeting,” said Nare.
Nare was appointed NPRC chairperson in February this year following the death of the commission’s former chairperson, Cyril Ndebele in 2016.