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NPRC Briefing

09 April 2019

March, 2019
About this briefing
On 9 April 2019, the National Transitional Justice Working Group (NTJWG) met with the National Peace and
Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) for the first briefing of the year. This report carries a summary of the issued presented
to the NPRC. In the briefing, the NTJWG raised several issues of concern to Zimbabwe’s transitional justice journey.
The NTJWG Welcomes the NPRC Secretariat
It has been a long wait for the NPRC to finally get to work. NTJWG
was pleased to note that the NPRC was given the greenlight by
Treasury to recruit 32 out of the 103 members of staff. In January,
2018 the NTJWG raised concerns about the NPRC indicating that the
Commission could not commence its work without the full
constitution of its secretariat. Despite the lack of funds to recruit its
entire contingent, the NTJWG acknowledges efforts by the NPRC to
deliver its mandate with hardly any support staff. Against this
background, the NTJWG welcomed the recruitment of staff.
However, the NTJWG implores the NPRC to ensure that the
recruitment and appointment process is transparent, quick and open
to scrutiny in line with the best practices as outlined in the last briefing
on the importance of ensuring a competent and independent

NPRC’s Reporting Obligations
NTJWG noted that in terms of the law, the NPRC is expected to
submit a report to Parliament annually and publish it to the public
within 30 days after its presentation in Parliament. Since the NPRC
was operationalised on 5 January, 2018, therefore stakeholders are
looking forward to the publication of the annual report, which,
according to law, was supposed to have been submitted to
Parliament on or before 5 January, 2019. Besides the annual report,
stakeholders will expect the publication of any other report(s)
highlighting the work of the NPRC. These reports keep the public
informed and abreast with the activities of the Commission.
Stakeholders many times have to depend only on news reports,
tweets and sometime press conferences. It will be very helpful if the
relevant reports are also uploaded on the NPRC’s website.

the lifespan of the NPRC since its operationalisation on 5 January,
2018. It was recommended that legal action be taken to clarify the
position. NTJWG applauds the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights
(ZLHR) for taking the matter to the High Court on behalf of one of the
survivors. The High Court has since declared that the lifespan of the
NPRC will begin to countdown from 5 January 2018, the day the
NPRC Act was gazetted. However, NTJWG is concerned that the
Minister of Justice was reported in the Sunday Mail of 31 March 2019
stating that government intended to disband the NPRC and put it
under the ZHRC. This would be retrogressive.

NPRC Community Interface
Immediately after the operationalisation of the NPRC in January,
2018 the NPRC embarked on a nationwide consultative programme.
The NPRC further facilitated the signing of the Peace Pledge and
launched the Peace Caravan. Other meetings were facilitated in
Harare, Bulawayo, Mt. Darwin and Masvingo. NPRC also responded
positively to invitations to appear on radio programmes in Mutare
and Bulawayo and answer questions from stakeholders. As the NPRC
gears for 2019 outreach, more investments need to be directed
towards information dissemination, reporting and feedback.

Funding for the NPRC
The NTJWG acknowledges that while funds were allocated to the
NPRC in the national budget, the Commission remained financially
constrained, unable to attend to its mandate because non-availability
of resources. Inadequate funding will drastically impact of the
Commission. The NTJWG would encourage speedy disbursement of
funds to the NPRC to enable it to do its work.

Upcoming Meetings or Activities
The Shutdown Atrocities and Montlanthe
Commission Report
The events of January 14, 2019 and the days that followed were very
sad to the nation and to the world. NTJWG is aware that the NPRC
met with some of the survivors and stakeholders. However, not
much traction has been seen after that in response to the needs of the
victims. NTJWG notes the report of the Zimbabwe Human Rights
Commission which is very encouraging. The NPRC can use some of
the findings from that report to design some interventions that speak
to its mandate. NTJWG hopes the NPRC is still in touch with the
victims. Visible solidarity with victims and survivors is an important
part of confidence building. NTJWG further encourages the NPRC to
be seized with the recommendations of the Montlanthe Commission
which have remained largely ignored. These are some good
indications in the report which support measures for guaranteeing
non recurrence.

Lifespan of the NPRC
On 22 June, 2018 the NTJWG convened its quarterly meeting at
Holiday Inn and one of its major concerns was the lack of clarity on

The NPRC has recently announced that it shall be convening
meetings around the country. However, as have been reported with
the consultative meetings in 2018 and the Commission of Inquiry
which were characterised by violence in other areas, some regions
remain very sensitive, volatile and deeply divided. NTJWG implores
the NPRC to put in place mechanisms which put victims of past
human rights violations at the centre of the meetings, embark on an
intensive pre-planning and environmental scanning exercise. In line
with this, NTJWG has presented to the NPRC the booklet, Code of
Inclusion: Guiding Principles on Inclusive Public Consultation and
Participation in Transitional Justice Processes in Zimbabwe. This is
NTJWG’s small way of encouraging inclusivity in its processes.

Other Issues
NTJWG took the opportunity to thank the NPRC for its contribution
at the 2018 Transitional Justice Symposium and gave feedback on
some of the issues raised at the symposium. A full policy brief will be
released on some recommendations from the symposium that were
shared with the NPRC.

There is a window of opportunity to move transitional justice processes in Zimbabwe to the next level. Independent commissions play a critical
role. It is important the government plays its role in ensuring that the commissions are adequately resources to play their role. Government
interference with independent commissions undermines public confidence. In that regard, NTJWG remains committed to supporting the cause of
transitional justice and defending their independence. This update has highlighted some of the possible threats to such independence and
effectiveness. It is hoped that the actors concerned will address the issues urgently.

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