By Staff Reporter
Mutare: A meeting which was convened by National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) in the eastern border city last week turned into a circus after rival political party supporters tried to turn the event into a political gathering.
The NPRC is on a nationwide outreach programme to meet stakeholders and ordinary members of the public to table its five-year strategic plan as part of its efforts towards resolving the country`s darkest post-independence period.
The two major political parties Zanu PF and MDC bussed their supporters to the event to push their agendas.
Commissioner Choice Ndoro explained to the meeting that the purpose of their visit was to explain their operational framework and the Commission will come back later to conduct hearings.
But some Zanu PF supporters were going to take none of it and instead seized the opportunity to apportion blame on MDC leader Nelson Chamisa and the party`s deputy chairperson Tendai Biti for allegedly calling for sanctions against the country.
“Chamisa and Biti called for sanctions and they should go and ask for their removal. They should learn to love their country. Zimbabwe is our country,” said one Cecilia Gambe, a Zanu PF activist.
“MDC supporters destroyed our property and 12 families were affected in Sakubva. We reported the matter to the police and it went before the courts but nothing was done.
“I was partially blind for a year. There was no closure on the matter. So, I want to know how the Commission is going to assist in this regard to bring the culprits to book.”
Another Zanu PF youth identified as Tsopotsa said sanctions must be lifted as they were causing untold suffering to ordinary Zimbabweans.
He added that people should be thankful to President Emmerson Mnangagwa`s government for its sincerity in dealing with past disturbances through allowing the NRPC to fully execute its mandate.
“We thank President ED for being sincere in dealing with past disturbances through the establishment of the Commission and allow it to full execute its mandate but we want the sanctions to go,” he said.
Makoni Rural District Council chairperson Guy Mutasa said people should thank the “Second Republic” which has been introduced by President Mnangagwa as it has brought freedoms of association and assembly in the country.
“We are happy that the Commission has been established but we should first thank the new dispensation which was brought about by Zanu PF and President ED,” said Mutasa.
MDC Manicaland vice organising secretary, Itayi Masaka was however of different opinion saying it was indeed the State that was causing conflict between itself and citizens.
“The State is causing conflict between itself and citizens because are people are being denied food on political grounds,” said Masaka.
A local civic organisation leader Jacob Mundenda asked whether the Commission has the stamina to train State security machinery to be professional and to investigate matters.
“The Commission should have the capacity to train state security machinery to investigate matters. Most of the times police will say they don’t have capacity to investigate. There should also be protection measures for witnesses against retribution,” said Mundenda.
Other people also queried the capacity of the Commission to bring the State to book as some of the perpetrators of violence are found in power corridors.
“There has been a bad precedence in the country where most perpetrators of violence will holed in the corridors of power. As public, we would like to know whether the Commission will have spine to bring the culprits to book,” queried a participant.
Commissioner Choice Ndoro had a torrid time to explain to the gathering that the meeting was not a hearing but it meant to appraise the public on their operational framework and five-year strategic plan.
“I can see tension is rising and people are pointing fingers. No, this platform is not meant to delve into those issues because some of the matters need witnesses to come and testify or held in camera or at community level.
“We are here to explain our operating framework. The Commission will come back for hearing later,” said Ndoro as she tried to cool down tempers.
The NPRC is adopting a bottom-up approach in dealing with the country`s past violence and communities will be key in driving the agenda of the reconciliation process.
The Commission will by next month set up thematic committees from districts to national levels that will conduct hearing across the country in an effort to bring peace and harmony among the citizen.