ZimRights is seeking a declaratory order in the High Court that the National Peace and Reconciliation (NPRC) Commissioner, Obert Gutu has ceased being a commissioner.
Represented by the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, ZimRights argues that in terms of section 236 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, any politician appointed to an independent commission must renounce their political party membership within 30 days of the appointment or they immediately cease to be a commissioner.
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Using social media, Gutu publicly announced that he was joining ZANU PF before being appointed commissioner and he has not said anything about resignation as required by law. ZimRights Director, Dzikamai Bere said:
Gutu’s comments on Gukurahundi reflect that his political activism in ZANU PF makes it impossible for him to have the compassion and empathy required for a commissioner of the NPRC. He cannot win the confidence of the victims and survivors.
It is good for such activists to be removed from the commission. They are a danger to the mission of NPRC.
A member of the ZimRights Right to Peace Action Zone, Maria Nkomo said:
Obert Gutu can not be commissioner. He is a political activist and his sentiments on Gukurahundi makes us doubt his capabilities to represent the interest of the people.
The NPRC is one of the independent commissions established by Chapter 12 of the Constitution.
The commission since its inception has struggled to deal with the deepening confidence deficit and the case of Obert Gutu makes this situation even worse.