Zanu PF lawyer to head human rights body

February 21, 2013 at 12:37 pm Leave a comment

HARARE- Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on Monday announced new heads for
the country’s human rights and electoral commissions ahead of crucial polls
this year.

Tsvangirai told journalists a former governor from President Robert Mugabe’s
Zanu-PF party was the new chairperson of the human rights commission
following the resignation of top lawyer Reg Austin in January.

Austin cited lack of facilities including an office for the commission among
reasons for his resignation.

“Jacob Mudenda will chair the human rights commission,” Tsvangirai said. “We
have considered his past. We believe he is capable, being a lawyer and a
member of the commission.”

Zimbabwe is expected to hold a constitutional referendum on March 16 and
elections in July, which will end the shaky coalition, but no dates have
been set. Elections in Zimbabwe have been marred by human rights violations
including killings of political opponents, beatings and intimidation.

Tsvangirai said a high court judge would replace former judge Simpson
Mutambanengwe who retired last week as the electoral commission chief on
health grounds.

“There were a couple of names but we arrived at somebody on the bench,”
Tsvangirai said. “I am not at liberty to reveal the name at this stage
because the individual has not been informed.”

Tsvangirai confirmed Mutambanengwe’s resignation was voluntary, adding that
the former commission chief had undergone an operation and needed close
medical monitoring.

Ahead of the votes the two main political parties – Mugabe’s Zanu-PF and
Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change – have said they support the
adoption of the draft charter.

But the MDC has said it would want more reforms in the media, security and
electoral sectors for the southern African country to hold free and fair
elections. Tsvangirai said $100m was needed for the referendum and that the
money would be raised in the country through taxes and loans from local
companies. SAPA


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