Newly-appointed Commissioner of the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC), Obert Gutu has said he never joined the ruling Zanu PF party.
Gutu who is a former spokesperson of the opposition MDC said he only expressed the intention to join ZANU PF but did not complete the process.
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His denial comes as the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights), a National Transitional Justice Working Group Zimbabwe (NTJWG) member, filed an application demanding that Gutu be removed from NPRC as section 286 of the Constitution forbids political party actors from serving as NPRC commissioners. The NTJWG statement read:
Dzikamai Bere, the executive director of ZimRights, who deposed the founding affidavit, had submitted that on March 17, 2021, Gutu joined Zanu PF amid pomp and fanfare at State House where he was welcomed to the political party by President Mnangagwa.
But in a shock response, while admitting the reports and the article (Sunday Mail, 21 March: Why I joined Zanu PF) explaining his decision to join Zanu PF, Gutu submitted that he was yet to submit a formal application and had not paid the required joining fee. He said he had abandoned the idea of joining Zanu PF when he was appointed to NPRC.
Ironically, Gutu was in March paraded at State House by President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who announced that the former MDC-T vice-president had defected to the ruling party.
Some have been calling for Gutu’s dismissal from NPRC over his recent remarks on Gukuruhundi atrocities that killed over 20 000 civilians in the Matabeleland and Midlands provinces.
Gutu said Gukurahundi constituted a small fraction of the issues the NPRC was dealing with.