Govt denies sabotaging peace commission

via Govt denies sabotaging peace commission – New Zimbabwe 08/11/2015

GOVERNMENT has denied claims it has abandoned the setting up of the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission, which is among five commissions prescribed by the country’s new constitution.

Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa told parliament recently that the plan was being held back by the scarcity of funds.

“Let me assure the Hon. Member and the House that we are extremely committed to creating and making the National Healing Commission function,” he said while responding to a question posed by MDC-T MP for Mutare Central Innocent Gonese.

“However, the constraint that Government has is that of resources and that also applies to the Provincial Authority Council.

“As far as commitment is concerned, we are committed to obeying the Constitution of our Republic, which we granted unto ourselves without
compulsion from anybody. So, we are committed.”

President Robert Mugabe’s government has been fingered as the main perpetrator of the country’s bloodiest post-liberation episodes.

The veteran leader has often come under fire from opponents and rights groups for blocking attempts to restore national peace and failing to heed demands for the compensation of violence victims.

Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa came under fire few months ago when he proposed the scraping of some Commissions as part of government’s efforts to trim its ballooning expenditure.

The move was vehemently resisted by rights defenders who felt this would be a huge setback to the country’s quest to return to elusive peace and democracy.

While resource constraints are beyond government’s control, its continued failure to enact legislation that will govern the operations of the envisaged peace watchdog has raised few eyebrows.

Parliament has since held interviews to recruit potential commissioners to the organ.

Gonese asked Mnangagwa why President Mugabe omitted the possible introduction of such a Bill in parliament when he officially opened the legislative assembly earlier this year.

“I think the Hon. Member may be reminded that not all Bills that come to the Legislature appear in the Presidential Speech,” Mnangagwa said in response.

“Secondly, we have already established five Commissions and none of those appeared in the statement of the President.

“It is well known that there is provision in the Constitution that this should be done and there is no need to remind anybody in the House that it should be done, because it is already in the Constitution.

“It is the duty of the Executive to do so and so far we have established five.”