By The Standard
A HUMAN rights activist has dragged Vice President Constantino Chiwenga to the High Court seeking an order directing him to table before Parliament a National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) 2020 report and its recommendations.
In his court application, Dzikamai Bere who is also the executive director of the Zimbabwe Association for Human Rights (ZimRights) cited Chiwenga as the third respondent in his official capacity as the responsible official assigned to oversee peace and reconciliation.
The NPRC and NPRC chairperson Sello Nare are cited as the first and second respondents respectively.
The NPRC was established under section 251 to 253 of the 2013 constitution to address past human rights abuses including Gukurahundi.
In his application, Bere, who is represented by the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum said Chiwenga and the NPRC were constitutionally mandated to table the commissions’ annual reports and recommendations in Parliament.
In terms of section 16 (5) of the NPRC Act, the minister responsible is required to table this report before Parliament within 10 days of the next sitting of that Parliament.
Under the same Act, the minister is mandated to table the recommendations within 6 months after submitting the same report to Parliament.
“Despite the clear provisions of the constitution and the Act, the respondents failed or neglected to submit or publish that annual report for the year 2020 and we are already approaching the deadline for the submission of an annual report of 2021 in March 2022,” Bere submitted.]
“I am perturbed by the conduct of the respondents, they have exhibited a lackadaisical approach in meeting these constitutional and statutory obligations.
“With this approach I have a real fear that the annual report for the year 2020, which will be due in March 2022 will not be submitted on time and it is competent in these circumstances, to issue a court order to compel the respondents to also comply with their reporting obligations for the annual report for the year 2021.”
Bere argued that failure to submit the reports makes it difficult to hold the NPRC accountable.
“Without submitting that report to Parliament, the latter is deprived of an opportunity to hold this commission accountable,” he said.
“It also deprives me of information that is essential to hold this Commission and the executive accountable.”
The NPRC lost seven years of its 10 year lifespan as it was not operational from 2013 as expected after the promulgation of the constitution due to lack of an enabling Act to operationalise it.
In February 2019, MDC Alliance proportional representation legislator Concillia Chinanzvavana had to take President Emmerson Mnangagwa to the Masvingo High Court seeking a ruling forcing him to extend the tenure of the NPRC by 10 years from 2018 when it was sworn in as prescribed by the constitution.
Justice Joseph Mafusire ruled in her favour meaning the NPRC will be operational until 2028, but to date, its lifespan has not been extended and is set to expire in 2023.