Mukoko takes finance minister to court over NPRC funds allocation

Human rights defender Jestina Mukoko has sued Finance Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube over the allocation of funds to the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC), whose term of office expired in 2023.

According to the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, Mukoko alleges that in terms of Section 251 of the Constitution, the NPRC was supposed to exist for only 10 years from August 22, 2013, the date it was operationalized.

This means the NPRC ceased to exist on August 23, 2023.

However, despite this position, Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube allocated funds to the NPRC in his 2024 annual budget.

Mukoko is represented by Noble Chinhanu of the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum.

Chinhanu was instructed by the National Transitional Justice Working Group (NTJWG).

The NPRC was established according to Section 251 of Zimbabwe’s Constitution for a 10-year term beginning on August 22, 2013, with the duty of preventing violence, anticipating conflict, and ensuring reconciliation within communities.

It only became active on January 5, 2018, due to delays in enacting the statute to operationalize the NPRC.

The NPRC was allocated a budget of ZWL$56 billion in the national budget.

Mukoko stated, “There is no law that allows any public expenditure in favor of the NPRC, and this event is contrary to Section 17 of the Public Finance and Management Act.” She added: “I submit that it is neither prudent nor economical for the Respondents to allow expenditure for an entity that is not recognized by law or authorized to receive such expenditure.”

She stated that Section 308 of the Constitution provides that “it is the duty of every person who has custody or control of public funds to safeguard the funds and ensure that they are spent only on legally authorized purposes and in legally authorized amounts.”

Mukoko also cited the Parliament of Zimbabwe and the Attorney-General as respondents.

The Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs announced that it was working on transferring the functions of the NPRC to the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC).

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