The National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) has urged political parties to campaign peacefully ahead of the forthcoming harmonised elections, saying it will subpoena perpetrators of violence to account for their deeds.
The NPRC, which is a product of the new Constitution, has a mandate to promote peace, national healing and resolve conflicts in the country.
In an interview last week, chairperson of the Commission Retired Justice Sello Nare said the NPRC was working with four other commissions to ensure that elections were held peacefully.
The other commissions are: Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission, the Zimbabwe Gender Commission and the Zimbabwe Media Commission.
“We have been asked as regards what we are doing with the elections,” said Justice Nare.
“There are Chapter 12 commissions; they’re actually five. We interrelate.
“We are working on how we can have a peaceful election by putting our heads together.
“As the NPRC, we are trying to write out a paper to have more teeth to ourselves where we can be able to call, say if there is a conflict like that one that happened in Buhera, find out from (MDC-T president Nelson) Chamisa whether they have healed or what is the position. It’s all focused towards peace building.”
Justice Nare said they were encouraging political players to ensure that their supporters desist from both inter-and intra-party violence.
“We are having issues of intra-party violence, so this commission is also mandated to ensure that there is dialogue,” he said.
“We encourage political parties to engage in dialogue and find meaningful solutions as a way of conflict resolution.”
NPRC Commissioner Leslie Ncube said there would be a unit within the NPRC that will focus on promoting dialogue.
“We will have a unit that will focus on intra-party dialogues as a way of finding meaningful relations,” he said.
“Our elections historically have been marred by violence, but we will robustly move as a commission to engage political parties to desist from intra-and inter-party violence because this has been a bigger pattern in Zimbabwe.
“Even the usage of hate speech and divisive speech, especially on ethnic grounds. We should desist from it.”
Commissioner Ncube said they were working on coming up with a clear roadmap for polls.
“Also borrowing from the President’s statement to say that we want violence-free and peaceful elections, that is one of our key thrusts as a commission to ensure that there is a conducive environment and above all, we are going to implement programmes that promote national healing and unity and cohesion, as well as peaceful resolution to disputes right across the political divide,” he said.
“The commission has a lifespan of 10 years. It is our key responsibility as Zimbabweans to find home-grown solutions as well as find each other. It is also important that the NPRC fits into the broader picture of economic growth because without, peace we cannot attain economic growth.
“No investor is keen to come into an environment where there is no peace.”
The Peace and Reconciliation Act empowers the commission to subpoena any person to assist with investigations.
The commission also has powers to request the assistance of the police to deal with any case.