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NGOs Threaten to Take Govt to Court Over Failure to Set Up Peace Commission


Zimbabwe's constitution stipulates that the country should establish a peace commission.

Zimbabwe's constitution stipulates that the country should establish a peace commission.

Civil society organisations which advocate for peace, justice and reconciliation on Tuesday said they will take the government to the Constitutional Court for deliberately delaying to set up the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission as prescribed by the Zimbabwe's constitution.

Speaking at a press conference organised by the Zimbabwe Center for Community Development, Zimbabwe Civic Education Trust and Heal Zimbabwe Trust, the Forum's director, Lloyd Kuveya, said the groups have been upset by lack of action in establishing the commission.

Kuveya said, “If the delay is inordinate we will then take government to the Constitutional Court for non-compliance because the government has a responsibility to uphold and defend the constitution and according to us if that does not happen we will be left with no option than to approach the highest court of the land.”

Many other organizations share the same opinion.

Director Gladys Hlatywayo of the Zimbabwe Civil Education Trust told Studio 7 that civil society organizations agree that the government's excuse that it has no resources is not genuine.

She said, "The excuses around money, it comes back to political will. There are processes that do not require resources like bringing the enabling act. We still hammer on the point around political will. Government has to show it is committed to the process of national healing and laying a strong foundation for sustainable peace."​

Hlatywayo said there's no political will within the government and ruling party to establish the commission

Kuveya said the government will no doubt get support for the peace commission from the international community given the importance of the peace commission.

"That has always been an excuse many governments come up with. I want to assure colleagues that when you set an important body such as the NPRC and it has happened elsewhere like the South Africa national truth and reconciliation commission, the international community will come in and give support."​

The NPRC is one of the public bodies which were enshrined in the new constitution which was adopted in 2013.

The commission, according to the constitution, is the only body which has a life span of 10 years from the “effective date of adoption of the 2013 Constitution”.

But it's almost three years after the adoption of the new charter, and the commission that is mandated to investigate and bring closure to an era of human rights abuses and violations, is yet to be established.


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