Fears mount as NPRC Bill hearings begin

Fears mount as NPRC Bill hearings begin

PUBLIC hearings on the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission Bill begin today at Victoria Fall’s Chinotimba Hall and Civic Centre Hall in Masvingo, amid fears of disruptions by unruly elements.

Source: Fears mount as NPRC Bill hearings begin – NewsDay Zimbabwe March 13, 2017

BY VENERANDA LANGA

Acting chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Justice, Fortune Chasi and chairperson of the Parliamentary Thematic Committee on Peace and Security, Damian Mumvuri yesterday called for calm, saying any disturbances might further delay the crafting of the Bill that will assist in setting up the NPRC.

 “Admittedly when the first public hearings on the Bill were held in 2015, we experienced problems of some people trying to disrupt the public hearings and trying to quash the points made by others,” Chasi said.

“However, we want to assure people that they are free to air their views, and we just have to alert the police of possibilities of disruptions, because this Bill is emotive in nature and as such there must be tolerance of some people’s views.”

Legal and parliamentary lobby group, Veritas also urged people to air their views peacefully, as violence and disturbances during the public hearings will only serve to further stall operationalisation of the NPRC, which will only have a 10-year lifespan.

Already three years have passed and the commission is now left with only seven years in which to hear cases around national healing that could include elections-related violence and other issues that have disturbed peace in the country since independence.

“Veritas urges all those who believe in the need to set up the NPRC to attend these important hearings and make their views on the Bill known. But, although feelings may run high, the public are urged to participate in the hearings in a peaceful, tolerant and disciplined manner, respecting the constitutional rights of all Zimbabweans to present their views on the Bill and remembering that it is the solemn constitutional duty of Parliament and its committees to consult all interested parties by conducting these hearings,” Veritas said in a statement.

If passed the Bill will, among many other issues, also establish various offences for violating the its provisions such as two-year imprisonment for threatening, victimising, assaulting or harming any person that has testified or appeared before the commission.

 

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