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Crisis Report - Issue 233
in Zimbabwe Coalition
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Society welcomes prospect of rights commission secretariat
has welcomed the prospect of a maiden secretariat for the Zimbabwe
Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) four years after its formation in
2009, following the posting of 51 advertised vacancies by the HRC
of the ZHRC vacancies comes in the wake of a government appointed
ministerial committee to realign the country’s laws with provisions
of the new constitution in a bid to operationalise several institutions
established under the new charter.
Among the advertised
ZHRC posts is the position of Executive Secretary, who will be responsible
for overseeing the day-to-day running of the independent Commission
and other staff whose advertised duties include liaising with civil
the Justice Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister, Emmerson Mnangagwa
also promised that government will soon fund the operations of the
Commission, which could signal a new and rare impetus by the Zanu-PF
government to operationalize the Commission.
Crisis in Zimbabwe
Coalition (CiZC) Spokesperson Thabani Nyoni hailed the latest development,
but emphasized that it should signify a genuine attempt to safeguard
human rights by the Zimbabwean government.
to operationalize the ZHRC is commendable, and encouraging,”
minister has to be commended and reminded that when it comes to
the issue of human rights, the process itself is as good as the
is need for transparency and openness in setting up the ZHRC for
it to inspire confidence, and set a different tone and path from
the numerous commissions that have become paper tigers.
the way the justice system operates will have to be reconfigured
to accommodate this new reality.”
upon civil society to continue supporting the process of setting
up a functional human rights framework in as many ways as possible,
saying that for Zimbabwe this is the “nearest chance towards
laying the cornerstone for a new human rights dispensation.”
of Zimbabwe Human
Rights NGO Forum, Abel Chikomo, said one of the major setbacks
for the Commission has been the lack of political will to operationalise
the body, making the recent development something to be optimistic
problem has been the lack of political will,” Chikomo said,
“and the setting up of a secretariat is a huge step towards
that political will.
will only function with a secretariat and resources, so the government
has taken a huge step.”
Human Rights NGO Forum Director said the absence of a secretariat
to receive complaints and oversee day-to-day operations had impeded
the Commission in carrying out its duties.
that governments, the world over, are not kind to independent commissions
as the bodies seek to police the actions of the authorities through
it would not be an easy task for the Commission to bring about a
real human rights culture even if it becomes fully resourced.
do not want independent commissions because they demand accountability,”
Chikomo said. “I have no doubt that it will not be easy for
the Commission, but I am sure they will operate better than before.
authorities put a secretariat and fund the Commission, but seek
to interfere with its work, civil society must be ready to push
for a genuinely independent and workable set up for the body.”
first chairperson Professor Reginal Austin resigned in 2012, citing
a lack of a proper framework, while his successor Jacob Mudenda
left in August 2013, after being elected Speaker of Parliament,
which leaves the Zanu-PF government often accused of human rights
violations tasked with appointing a new chairperson.
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