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Govt to revise Peace Bill


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| The Herald June 17, 2017

Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter
Government will further amend the National Peace and Reconciliation
Commission Bill to ensure that the independent commission does not handle
cases under judicial consideration, Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko has
said.

VP Mphoko, who also oversees the Ministry of National Healing, Integration
and Reconciliation, said he would make necessary amendments when the Bill,
currently on its second reading stage in the National Assembly, reaches
committee stage.

He said this on Tuesday while responding to concerns raised by legislators
particularly the portfolio committee on Justice Legal and Parliamentary
Affairs chaired by Zvimba West legislator Cde Ziyambi Ziyambi (Zanu-PF).

The Bill was withdrawn from Parliament last year as Government wanted to
attend to several reservations made by stakeholders including the
Parliamentary Legal Committee and was eventually reintroduced before
Parliament.

In its report, the committee had indicated that Clause Eight (3) of the
Bill only acknowledged civil proceedings and was silent on criminal cases.

"The issue of citing matters before the civil court only is noted. At the
Committee Stage Clause 8 (3) will be amended to ensure that the Commission
will not deal with matters which are before both the civil and criminal
courts," said VP Mphoko.

VP Mphoko said the Commission was empowered to deal with any type of
dispute or conflict brought before it.

"The Constitution did not define the scope of the dispute or conflict to
be adjudicated by the Commission. Defining the scope of this dispute may
have the effect of limiting the dispute. Limiting the scope of the dispute
or conflict may deny the citizens of their fundamental constitutional
right to have the processes of healing and reconciliation," said VP
Mphoko.

Harare West MP Ms Jessie Majome had indicated that the Commission should
have power to initiate its own investigations.

But VP Mphoko shot down the proposals saying it would create problems.

"Giving the Commission powers to initiate its own investigations which
have not been reported to it may lead the NPRC on a fishing expedition
which might result in wastage of resources and not yield the intended
results. The Commission should therefore be guided in its operations by
what is in the Constitution," said VP Mphoko.

"It should also be noted that there are 10 functions that the NPRC has to
fulfil. The Commission is therefore not being operationalised to conduct
investigations only, but it even needs to `develop and implement
programmes to promote national healing, unity and cohesion in Zimbabwe and
the peaceful resolution of disputes' amongst other functions."

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