MDC national secretary for constitutional and parliamentary affairs, Kucaca Phulu, has rapped Justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi for rubbishing Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) report on State-sponsored violence during recent protests.
BY SILAS NKALA
The ZHRC, in its report, blamed the security forces for using lethal force to quell the fuel price hike protests which turned violent, resulting in the death of 12 people.
Ziyambi last week said the report was not balanced and offside on what really transpired.
“Government has taken note of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission report. The Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission is a constitutional commission put in place to strengthen our democracy,” he said.
“There is, therefore, an expectation that they would be impartial and speak without bias. Their report falls short of that standard, as it is based not on thorough investigation and only covers the period after the first two most anarchical days of the disturbances.
“Government expects our constitutional commissions not be polarising by making broad and unsubstantiated accusations without caveats or evidence. In the interest of fairness and justice, government will engage with the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission in order to map the way forward for the benefit of the people of Zimbabwe.”
But Phulu, a lawyer and Nkulumane legislator, in a statement yesterday said the attack on the ZHRC threatened the independence of the commission and was a violation of the Constitution.
“It is a flagrant violation of the Constitution, a total disrespect of its values and spirit and an illegality which must not only be condemned, but must come with political cost,” Phulu said.
“Just like the attempt to destroy the MDC parliamentary caucus, this is also an act of Executive over-reach. The human rights commission’s independence is constitutional. It is subject only to the supreme law and the people of Zimbabwe through Parliament.”
The legislator said the report by the commission was factual and balanced, saying more importantly, it was bold considering the fascist environment prevailing in the country.
He said the commission must not only be applauded, but must be defended by the citizens, civic society, the church and even political parties.
“Stakeholders cannot remain silent while democracy and the Constitution, its institutions, are under attack by someone who has a track record of abusing the Justice ministry for a narrow partisan agenda of self-preservation and power retention,” Phulu said.
“The Justice minister has no power over independent commissions. Any attempt to tamper with them would be Executive over-reach and is unacceptable. For someone who is failing to push an agenda for alignment of laws to the Constitution, seeking additional and illegal self-vested duties is laughable,” he said.
Phulu said Ziyambi should not harass and put unnecessary pressure on commissioners. The MP encouraged all the magistrates trying cases relating to the shut-down to act independently to save the nation from ridicule.
“All institutions of the State must be professional, effective and strong only subject to regulations as opposed to interests of a political party,” he said.
Habakkuk Trust director Dumisani Nkomo said the attack on the ZHRC was an attack on democracy.
“(It) must not be accepted,” Nkomo said.
South Africa-based Zimbabwean political activist, Fortune Mlalazi said Zimbabweans were dealing with an unrepentant Zanu PF regime, worse off than former President Robert Mugabe’s.