CSOs set criteria for peace commission

Human rights defenders have called for the recruitment of neutral and untainted people as commissioners for the National Peace and Recreation Commission (NPRC), whose mandate is to ensure peaceful co-existence among Zimbabweans.


The call follows a recent invitation by Parliament for the public to make nominations for persons to serve on the NPRC and other commissions. The CSOs said it was important that there be clear criteria for the commissioners.

Okay Machisa, National Director of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (Zimrights), said the selection process should be all-inclusive.

“Given the importance of the commission to the country, the recruitment process should be inclusive and transparent,” he said, suggesting that government should CSOs and churches to be part of the selection process.

Candidates could include victims and perpetrators of violence, provided they were people of integrity in whom citizens could put their trust, he said.

Alec Muchadehama, a human rights lawyer, said victims and not perpetrators should be considered. “If one is not a victim then s/he was never involved in the fight for either human rights or democracy,” he added.

Thabani Nyoni, former spokesperson with Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, said the country was not short of qualified and suitable candidates for the commission, it the selection process was transparent and inclusive.

According to Section 251 (4) of the constitution, members of the NPRC must qualify based on integrity, knowledge and experience in mediation, conciliation, conflict prevention and management, post-conflict and reconciliation or peace building capabilities.

Pressure is mounting from CSOs and pro-democracy groups for Parliament to speed up the setting up of all independent commissions as provided for in the constitution. Organisations such as Bulawayo Agenda, Women of Zimbabwe Arise, Zimbabwe Association for Crime Prevention and Rehabilitation of the Offender (ZACRO), Women’s Coalition, Transparency International, Advocacy Unit, Students Solidarity Trust and Research and Veritas among others have added their weight to the call for a credible and transparent selection process.

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