BULAWAYO residents have criticised the new National Peace And Reconciliation Bill (NPRC) saying there are no changes from the previously proposed Bill, which was rejected.
Speaking during a Parliamentary consultation meeting at the Large City Hall, residents said the NPRC Bill has clauses that protect perpetrators instead of vouching for victims of several injustices before and after independence.
NPRC Bill was previously withdrawn from Parliament last year following MPs’ adverse report.
The withdrawal was in anticipation a better Bill, in line with Constitution would be crafted.
However the new bill has faced stiff resistance from residents, with some saying it strongly resembles the previous one which was rejected.
MDC former Member of Parliament, Felix Magalela said the bill was previously rejected but they have brought a similar bill for consultations which does not make any sense.
“The bill is not different from the bill we rejected last year saying it should be in line with the Constitution not protect the people in power, said Magagela.
He added: ‘This bill is still far fetched from what we want as people of Zimbabwe for us to speak of reconciliation because what I see is a duplication of same clauses in different words still protecting perpetrators.”
He said for us to speak of reconciliation instigators should be brought to book.
“People who initiated the genocides they should be bought to book, Zimbabwe will never heal until and unless the people responsible for Gukurahundi are brought to justice,” said Magalela.
A resident Moses Mzila Ndlovu, said the bill is centred on protecting people in power who are the ones responsible for those atrocities.
“NPRC Bill is crafted under the Ministry of Justice led by people who are responsible for Gukurahundi, how then do you expect it to bring peace and justice to the people,” said Mzila.
He said people have lost faith in the current committee of justice to bring about justice, peace and reconciliation in the country.
“The bill misses the target; it doesn’t focus on the consequences of the conflicts that have ever taken place in Zimbabwe. As people we do not see where the perpetrator delivers justice to the people. We expect justice but not from an instigator of violence because they will always protect themselves,” said Mzila.
A representative of Kuthula Trust, Jameson Moyo said there are clauses in the bill that do not promote reconciliation but are secretive.
“Personally, l am not happy with the bill, when we look at some of the clauses enshrined within NPRC especially on sessions that are going to be held on camera and that information is then not disclosed to the public because you claim that the information is withhold for state security, said Moyo.
“These sessions are not withheld for because of state security but rather it is protecting a couple of individuals in power. People need to know what really transpired before we talk of reconciliation,” said Moyo.
Rev Useni Sibanda, this bill should focus on truth recovery. It should recognise documents released by Christian alliance “Breaking the silence” as part of documentation.