Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter
Parliament’s Committee on Standing Rules and Orders, the top committee that includes both Government and opposition legislators yesterday interviewed 11 candidates shortlisted for two vacancies on the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC).
The vacancies arose after the terms of the two commissioners expired.
Speaker of the National Assembly Advocate Jacob Mudenda, the committee chairman, headed the interviewing panel.
Among the members of Parliament’s top committee and present yesterday were Leader of the House and Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi, Minister of State for Presidential Affairs in charge of Implementation and Monitoring Dr Joram Gumbo, Leader of the Opposition Senator Douglas Mwonzora and Senator Tambudzani Mohadi.
Each interviewee had a time slot and was obliged to respond to six questions which varied from person to person.
Some of the notable persons who attended the interviews were public relations practitioner Mr Clement Mkwasi and Lupane State University Acting Pro-Vice Chancellor Mr Canaan Mpala.
Some of the questions that were posed included explaining ways in which the independence of the ZHRC could be guaranteed, why the commission was critically important in the country, explaining what should be done to make ZHRC more visible, evaluation of the commission’s effectiveness and its role in the era of Covid-19, and the relationship between the commission and civic society, among other questions.
Parliament is expected to submit a list of successful candidates from which the President will select the two in the exercise of his appointing authority.
The ZHRC is a constitutional body mandated to: investigate and ensure that human rights are upheld; promote awareness of and respect for all human rights and freedoms; promote the protection, development and realisation of all human rights and freedoms; monitor and assess observance of human rights and freedoms in Zimbabwe; conduct research on issues relating to human rights, freedoms and social justice; receive complaints from people on human rights abuses and take appropriate action; investigate the conduct of any authority or person suspected of violating any of the human rights provided in the Constitution’s Declaration of Rights.
The ZHRC must take necessary action to assist victims of human rights violations so that they receive justice, visit and inspect prisons, detention places, refugee camps and similar facilities where mentally disordered or intellectually handicapped persons are detained and make necessary recommendations about their conditions to the responsible Minister.
This comes as Parliament has also invited nominations of persons to be considered for appointment to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to fill six vacancies that arose following the expiry of term of office of the incumbents.