The NTJWG welcomed the announcement by the NPRC to engage communities for the second time since February, 2018 and followed closely the Commission’s meetings rolled-out from 15 April to 7 July, 2019. It is important for the Commission extract information and also share with stakeholders its plan of activities towards the fulfilment of its mandate and implementation of its strategy.
The NPRC announced that following the launch of its five-year strategic plan, it has been working to set-up and operationalise its internal mechanisms in order to launch a nationwide healing and reconciliation programme. The Commission intends to embark on a twenty-one day outreach programme to share and raise awareness on mechanisms and approaches that will be utilised in handling national healing and reconciliation including:
- Strategic priorities for 2019: public hearings for healing and reconciliation, mechanisms for early detection of conflict, national dialogue facilitation, setting-up of peace committees, evidence-based legislative and policy recommendations;
- Key thematic areas including complaints handling mechanism, victim support mechanism, truth-telling and seeking mechanism, healing, reconciliation and rehabilitation strategy, research and knowledge movement strategy and
- Highlighting structures in which Zimbabweans can participate for a broad-based and inclusive national healing, reconciliation and peace building process.
Schedule of the outreach programme:
a) 15-16 April, 2019: Mashonaland East
b) 23-28 April, 2019: Matebeleland North, South and Midlands
c) 29-30 April, 2019: Mashonaland Central
d) 2-4 May, 2019: Harare and Mashonaland West
e) 6-7 May, 2019: Masvingo
f) 8-10 May, 2019: Manicaland
g) 14-15 May, 2019: Gweru and
h) 6-7 June, 2019: Bulawayo.
Issues of concern raised during the outreach meetings:
- There were complaints raised by stakeholders that the meetings were done in locations out of town which made it difficult for survivors and other stakeholders to attend. The NTJWG implores the NPRC to utilise venues easily accessible to stakeholders.
- The timeline was too short for the Commission to cover the whole country.
- The Commission is relied on stakeholder organisations for mobilisation which led to some organisations being represented than others and the outreach not reaching out to the people it is intended to reach.
- It was not clear how the Commission guaranteed witness protection during and after the hearings.
- The issues covered under (i), (ii) and (iii) are important, yet it was too huge a mandate to be done within 21 days.
- In relation to the Secretariat, though the Commission indicated that they appointed Mrs.Zembe as the Executive Secretary, a number of officers and the Media and Communications Manager, it was unclear how the Commission handled complaints, providing counselling to witnesses, among other things. During the plenary, we indicated that the Commission was still too lean to undertake an outreach programme of this magnitude.
- The NTJWG will notify and mobilise its stakeholders and survivors to attend the provincial meetings in all Provinces so that they also participate in the process.
- The NTJWG Secretariat will attend the meetings in and around Harare and
- The NTJWG will continue providing its recommendations whilst the NPRC rolls-out its strategic plan.