Auxilia Katongomara, Chronicle Reporter
The National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) is resuming consultations after the High Court dismissed an application by human rights campaigners seeking to interdict the commission from carrying out its duties pending the appointment of a chairperson.
High Court Judge, Justice Owen Tagu, last Friday threw out an application by the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum seeking an order compelling President Emmerson Mnangagwa to appoint a substantive chairperson arguing that the commission was not fully constituted in terms of the Constitution.
The commission, which was appointed by former President Robert Mugabe, has been operating without a chairperson following the death of Mr Cyril Ndebele in October 2016.
NPRC commissioner Charles Masunungure told The Chronicle that the High Court had dismissed the Urgent Chamber application last Friday.
NPRC deputy chairperson, Mrs Lilian Chigwedere said the Commission would resume consultations next Monday countrywide.
“The National Peace and Reconciliation Commission shall be visiting the provinces of Zimbabwe to engage various stakeholders as part of the process leading to the National Convergence and Dialogue Conference followed by the Strategic Planning workshop,” said Mrs Chigwedere.
The Commission emphasised that it would be carrying out consultations and not hearings.
Mrs Chigwedere said hearings would only start later, after engaging stakeholders.
The commission first held consultations late last year and on Monday, there will be consultations in Gwanda, Matabeleland South and in Bindura, Mashonaland Central.
The consultations will continue the following day in Bulawayo before moving to Matabeleland North and Mashonaland West on February 26.
On February 28, the teams will be in the Midlands and Mashonaland East Provinces before rounding off in Masvingo and Manicaland on March 3.
Mrs Chigwedere said their consultations are meant to enhance stakeholder awareness of the NPRC, its mandate and functions.
The Commission said the consultative meetings should be inclusive and involve a very diverse set of voices.
The NPRC said political parties, war veterans, women, youth, people living with disabilities, academia, business, media, civil society organisations, traditional leaders, church organisations and Constitutional Commissions are invited to send a limited number of representatives to the consultative meetings.
“Persons putting on military or police uniform or political party regalia will not be allowed into the venues of meetings,” said Mrs Chigwedere.
The Constitution says the President must appoint the commission’s chairperson after consulting the Judicial Service Commission and the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders.
It also says the chairperson of the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission must be a person who has been qualified for at least seven years to practice as a legal practitioner in Zimbabwe.