The Zimbabwe Catholic Bishop’s Conference’s (ZCBC) arm on justice and peace, Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) recently convened a special consultative meeting for Catholic stakeholders on the ongoing discussions of the National Peace, Reconciliation and Healing Bill and process in Zimbabwe.

The meeting held at Africa Synod House in Harare brought together representatives from experienced Catholic institutions in issues of governance and democracy, justice, peace and reconciliation such as the Catholic Parliamentary Liaison Office represented by Fr Edward Ndete and Silveira House by Fr Gibson Munyoro SJ, the Catholic University among others.

Welcoming the participants, ZCBC Secretary General Fr Fradereck Chiromba invited the participants to discuss and propose steps the Catholic Church would want the government to objectively follow on this vital topic of peace and reconciliation.

The participants deliberated on the recommendations drafted from the consultations by CCJP and the Parliamentary Liaison Officer after their survey on the proposed National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) and the draft bill which will pass through cabinet after national public hearings have been conducted.

At the end of the meeting, resolutions stated that the church will recommend to the NPRC to conduct inclusive consultations of the people of Zimbabwe, create an impartial historical record of violence, influence public acknowledgement of past conflicts, foster the development of currently underdeveloped regions of the country and ultimately campaign to end of violence and have zero-tolerance towards future violent acts in Zimbabwe.

The church according to the resolutions must take an active role and create for itself space to influence other institutions to be peace keepers who can command respect in society and also engaging relevant ministries on peace education among other significant roles.

Fr Ndete at the end of the meeting urged all Catholics to be active and participate in such consultative hearings conducted by various parliamentary portfolios because the processes which culminate in policy formulation affect them as general citizens of the country hence they should be responsible and act.