NPRC embarks on social cohesion programme
Sukulwenkosi Dube-Matutu – [email protected]
THE National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) is engaging communities and working with them on solutions to enhance social cohesion across the country as part of efforts to promote national healing, peace and reconciliation.
The NPRC is one of the five independent commissions established under Chapter 12 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No. 20) Act 2013 for the purpose of supporting and entrenching a culture of human rights and democracy.
NPRC spokesperson, Commissioner Obert Gutu said the social cohesion programme started on Wednesday. He said so far teams have been deployed to Matabeleland South and Manicaland provinces. He said next week the programme will move to other provinces.
Commissioner Gutu said teams will be moving across various communities identifying conflict issues and then proffer solutions which can help communities. He said during the process teams will have in-depth discussions with various stakeholders at community level.
“This exercise is part of our mission where we seek to unite Zimbabweans for sustainable peace by developing mechanisms for resolving violent conflicts of the past and institutionalising approaches for preventing their recurrence in the future. This programme is focusing on social cohesion,” he said.
“There are a lot of conflict issues arising within the communities at different levels. We have community members clashing over resources, family clashes, clashes between the people and leaders and even clashes between community leaders. These clashes vary with societies and we want to identify the key drivers of these social disputes.”
Commissioner Gutu said teams that have been deployed are drawn from various thematic committees of the NPRC. He said during the outreach the NPRC will also take the opportunity to raise awareness among community members on the existence of the commission and its purpose. The commissioner said people often take peace for granted and continuous engagements with communities are necessary in inculcating a culture of peace.
“As NPRC we are yet to decentralise our offices to various districts but in the meantime we want to increase our visibility at grassroots level as much as possible through these outreaches. We want people to adopt peaceful ways of resolving conflicts and we want them to make use of the various peace building structures that have been put in place by Government,” he said.
Commissioner Gutu said findings of engagement meetings will help feed into their programming and also inform the commission’s peace building framework and conflict management strategy.
He said in Matabeleland some of the prominent conflict issues included clashes of natural resources such as mining claims, mopane worms, cattle rustling, gender related conflicts among others.
In an interview Matabeleland South Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister, Cde Abedinico Ncube said continuous engagements by NPRC are crucial in preventing conflicts from escalating into violence. He said conflicts stall development in communities.