Gutu speaks on new NPRC role

by | Jun 15, 2021 | Local News, Politics | 0 comments

Hosia Mviringi

National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) has appointed lawyer and former MDC Vice President, Commissioner Obert Chaurura Gutu to the core of the organisation as Chairperson and Spokesperson of the Complaints, Investigations, and Legal Services thematic committee.

Commissioner Gutu will steer the committee which acts as the first port of call for all activities relating to the Commission’s mandate to investigate all cases that are brought before it for the sake of promotion, maintenance and preservation of peace and reconciliation as spelt out under Section 252 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.

Section 252 of the supreme law of the land sets the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission as a critical component of the national fabric which is meant to engender national cohesion and development through peaceful resolution of conflicts and misunderstandings.

This role naturally straddles across social, political, religious and economic spheres of life.
Speaking to this writer, Commissioner Gutu expressed his appreciation to the appointing authority for the faith shown in thrusting him into this new challenging role.

He downplayed concerns that as a former politician his vision might be blurred and conflicted by his previous political experiences.
“The nature of life is such that people move from one position to the other. Life is never constant. It does not move in a straight line, nothing in life is cast in stone. I know that politics is a hard hat area, but one’s previous experiences can not and should not stop one from moving from point A to point B.

I am convinced that my previous involvement in politics is not a hindrance to achieving the goals that the NPRC is mandated to achieve as enshrined in the supreme law of the land. I have moved from that political activism arena and now I am ready to serve in such an esteemed and impartial Constitutional Commission as the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission. I am ready to use my experiences both in politics and law to better the lives of Zimbabweans,” said Commissioner Gutu.

Having traversed through the arduous and treacherous political and legal roles, Commissioner Gutu feels that he is now more experienced and better placed to tackle matters of national importance such as Peace and Reconciliation.

As part of its constitutional mandate, the NPRC is tasked with helping to craft measures to bring people together and this includes brokering peace amongst political contestants, communities and other stakeholders to facilitate dialogue and foster national cohesion as a catalyst to national development.

The Complaints, Investigations and Legal Services thematic committee is at the core of the operations of the NPRC as it has the sole mandate to receive complaints, conduct investigations, collect and curate evidence and recommend complainants to the appropriate thematic committees. This places this thematic committee at the very centre of operations of the Commission.

However, some lingering questions remain unanswered on the neutrality of Commissioner Gutu, with him having been a long time high ranking member of the opposition MDC party and recently having converted to ZANU PF before being appointed to the Commission.

“I want to assure the nation that everything has been done according to the book. Being a constitutionalist myself, I always make sure that everything is done according to the governing laws.
Provisions of Section 236 (3) (b) which stipulates that a member of the commission who has been a member of a political party prior to their appointment to the Commission, has to relinquish their party membership within 30 days of appointment, have been complied with fully,” said Commissioner Gutu.
The Commission has a very important role to play in the development of the country and the Commission has not been left out in the country’s drive towards becoming an Upper Middle Income economy by 2030.

To this end the Commission has been mandated under the National Development Strategy 1 blueprint to investigate more than 1500 cases between now and December 2021, which are deemed to be immediate impediments to attainment of national vision and developmental targets.
The NPRC becomes very important in its role of brokering peace, cohesion and national convergence on key national issues of development. Government recognises the importance of pulling together as a nation for quick and sustainable attainment of national developmental goals.

The Commission will be tasked in identifying hotspots of tension, discord, and conflict and investigating and recommending solutions. The commissioners have a role to investigate and mediate between conflicting parties be it in politics and societies. It will be particularly very important to iron these out as the nation heads into yet another election period in 2023.
Commissioner Gutu admitted that though the work ahead was enormous, it was not insurmountable. The Commission is ready and up to the task as it is well resourced in terms of relevant skills and funding to perform it’s functions. They are raring to go.