By Buhle Tshavango
Vice President and Minister of National Healing, Peace and Reconciliation Hon Mphoko says the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) bill was aimed at addressing wider national issues beyond Gukurahundi.
While reading the bill in Parliament for the second time VP Mphoko silenced claims by most critics of this bill who felt its success was hindered by Gukurahundi memories saying the aim was to deal with issues so that progress is made and peace prevails.
“It is my wish that Honourable Members understand that we cannot list or have everything we want addressed in the Bill but that some of the issues are left entirely to the discretion of the independent Commission. Let us therefore understand that the NPRC is a national Commission that has powers to look into all national issues, not just Gukurahundi, Entumbane, Murambatsvina and Electoral Violence amongst others, that affected, are affecting and will affect the nation in future. It is my hope that by looking at our past, the Commission will assist us to understand the present and build a peaceful future”, he said
The bill seeks to operationalise the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC), which was established by Section 251/253 of the Constitution and is set to make its second attempt to pass into law after it was withdrawn in May last year upon recording an adverse report.
VP Mphoko also said that the fact that the bill did not receive general public acceptance led them to make adjustments to make it more favourable.
“The fact that the first Bill received an adverse report and that the views from the public were also condemning the Bill, called for extra effort to be put in crafting of the Second Bill before the tabling of the Bill before this august House”, he said.
The NPRC has been condemned by many who feel it will only do more harm than good by opening fresh wounds of the Gukurahundi massacre and further widening tribalism which has taken root in some parts of Matabeleland.
Legislative watchdog VERITAS has described the new NPRC bill as a great improvement from the old one although there is still room for improvement.