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Chinamasa’s proposed Human Rights Bill is rejected

Published: September 15, 2010

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Harare(ZimEye)-The Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai led MDC party and  Human rights organizations said  they are strongly opposed to the Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa proposed human  rights  bill which he said is not going to empower the Human rights commission to investigate human rights  abuses  that occurred before the formation of the inclusive  government.

Chinamasa on Monday announced that the Human Rights Commission whose bill he was drafting will not power the Human rights commission to investigate human rights violations that were committed before the formation of the inclusive government. MDC-T deputy spokesperson Thabitha Khumalo said her party was going to fight for the total rejection of Chinamasa’s unilaterally proposed human rights bill when the parliament re-opens.

Said Thabitha Khumalo:

khumalo2“People were massacred since 1980 and today we are talking of ignoring to investigate such atrocities. Violence  is  violence  regardless of when it started, and if us Zimbabweans are  going to sit and  let ZANU-PF talk of its investigations after elections we are basically doing  nothing. Believe you me, when parliament’s re-opens I will make it a point. If  it  costs me even my seat I  do not  mind I will remain defending that position because it’s unacceptable”, she told people witnessing the commemoration of the second anniversary of the GPA organized  by the Civic society Monitoring Mechanism in Harare Tuesday evening.

At the same occasion, Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition senior programs officer Nixon Nyikadzino said Chinamasa was trying to protect his party members who had been abusing human rights over the past 30 years.

“People should remember that Chinamasa as a senior member of ZANU-PF has skeletons to deal with. He was also to a certain extent allegedly involved in this particular level of violations; so are some of his party senior officials. So it will be difficult and unreasonable for him to usher in parliament a bill that incriminates him. So it’s both a personal and party position to protect what they did over the past

30 years they have been in power. Nyikadzino said his organization was going to mobilise other likeminded organizations and force for the rejection of the Chinamasa draft.

“When we look at violence, the main period is that of the Gukurahundi and the 2000, 2002, and the 2008 politically motivated violence and these are the most critical periods. Everyone would agree that it is because of these periods which motivated  the institution of the Human Rights commission by the inclusive government under the instructions  of SADC and African Union, “he  said.

A Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights official who refused to be named because he is not authorized to talk to the media said his organization was going to join hands with Crisis in Zimbabwe coalition to denounce the formation of a toothless Human rights commission.

“Its unfortunate  that Chinamasa has decided  to exclude  the civic society  in consulting how the Human rights bill should look like, and as an organization which  has been representing and defending victims of violence we are not going to sit, relax and watch politicians ignore those critical areas, “ said the official.

The eight member Human Rights Commission, which was sworn in March is chaired by Professor Reg Austin, a lawyer, former Professor and Dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of Zimbabwe and former head of Commonwealth Secretariat’s Constitutional and Legal Affairs Division.

Professor Austin has been under pressure from Human rights groups who have been demanding that it should investigate all human rights violations back dating from the early 1980s.

These human rights watchdogs say the Human rights commission should be given powers to try and convict anyone found guilty of human rights violations, which occurred in the country over the past 30 years.

People  from Matabeleland are also demanding that Zanu (PF) senior officials  who spearheaded  the Gukurahundi atrocities which led to the death of thousands of the  Ndebele tribe, should be investigated.

Victims of the June 27 bloody presidential runoff elections are calling  for  the  much awaited  Human rights Commission to bring to book Zanu (PF) militia and  state  security agents who butchered their families and friends in 2008.

Chinamasa said his office had finished working on the draft Human rights bill which will be tabled before parliament for endorsement when it re-opens in October.

According to the Global Political Agreement signed between the two MDC formations and Zanu (PF) to form the inclusive government, the Human rights Commission will be responsible for the promotion and creation of awareness of and respect for human rights and freedoms at all levels of society.

It should also recommend to Parliament effective measures to promote human rights and freedoms, and investigate the conduct of any authority or person, where it is alleged that any of the rights in the Declaration of Rights has been violated by that authority or person.

“This commission when operational will not have powers to investigate alleged human rights violations that happened before the enactment of the amendment number 19, unless such violations have continued after the amendment 19. Anything  that  happened before that period, it has no powers to investigate,“ Chinamasa  told journalists in Harare  on Monday. (ZimEye, Zimbabwe)


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13 Comments on "Chinamasa’s proposed Human Rights Bill is rejected"

  1. Leon on Wed, 15th Sep 2010 6:29 pm 

    Bad things happened b4 and brought our nation to the knees. But is it not time to focus on Rationality theory of politics? Do we have the money, time, blood and unrest to spare at the moment? Is this not going back than focusing on an exemplary future? Did bringing Sadam to the gallows solve anything in Iraq? Is it benefiting the Iraqians? Human rights orgs should not try to ignite conflicts in the settling unity gvt, they should help close the gaps of hate and encourage a future society with human rights relations. This bill might give ZANU pf the power to step down after the elections. Those guys vaneta, but we keep calling for drafts that corners them, how then will we expect them to shift if not thru a barrel which is not a solution to this situation at the moment. These guys are juss rocking for a more unsettled Zimbabwe thru a diff angle kuti tichemberere in the diaspora.

  2. Tete Vaneshanje Havakuri on Wed, 15th Sep 2010 8:26 pm 

    Human Rights—a! ini ndaedza for a long time to find a satisfactory defination for it. Ndinoona ichi cover both victims and perpetraters.Chaunongoda kuwana a very good lawyer.So I don’t understand why MDC ichiramba the Bill.Perhaps nekuti kudzidza kwangu kushoma could someone out there DEFINE this thing “Human Rights” So?

  3. julliana zivanai on Thu, 16th Sep 2010 5:54 am 

    crux of the matter is that no investigations of crimes perpetrated by the fools before enactment of ammmendment 19, it makes pipo see red. Ini ndinoti munhu wese ngaamire nemhoswa dzake sekumira kunoita munhu nehupfumi hwake, tinotyeiiko isu tiri varidzi vezviitiko. Kana uchisungwa womirirwa negweta rako ukawanikwa usina mhosva woenda hako kumba asi ukawanikwa wakonzeresa hako wopika, kokuenda kuEngland here unenge urimo muZimbabwe nyika yababa yechipikirwa.

  4. tindo on Thu, 16th Sep 2010 6:24 am 

    maybe to find a soft landing of the crisis its in the best interest of Zimbabweans to pass the bill, coz the Junta will then cling on power, tinozoita sei? I know pple where murdered, tortured, raped etc, but the truth is the perpetrators are scared of being jailed, so the bill gives them a sense of security, then we will move forward. In my view victims will still sue pepetrators just like what Jestina Mukoko and others are doing.

  5. Tich on Thu, 16th Sep 2010 8:42 am 

    If there is anyone in this evil ruthless Zanu PF regime who should be made accountable for not only abuse but twisting the law, destroying credibility of the judiciary by packing it with biased,corrupt and useless judges it is this dog and devil’s advocate called Patrick Chinamasa.He is also partly to blame for the problem currently haunts the Anglican church in HRE.

  6. Chester on Thu, 16th Sep 2010 12:07 pm 

    Tindo you are speaking a lot of sense. Honestly people like you should be in government, you have deep thoughts.i think even my Comrades Choya and BlaMiki will agree and say Viva Tindo! What do you say Guvnor?

  7. julliana zivanai on Thu, 16th Sep 2010 1:19 pm 

    Muzaya Chinamasa wakazara muviri wese nemhezi dzinozwi Zanu saka ini ndinoti dai zvaigoneka waiswa pamaGod sanctions nomore Oxygen for thee says the Lord toziva kuti zvaguma ndopaperera sarungano guyo Mugabe nehurungudo Chinamasa.

  8. choyachatsva on Thu, 16th Sep 2010 2:29 pm 

    honestly speaking this bill was going do to better to the country,its only mdc-t they just jump into things. Zanu pf won’t go wrong because is a driven people’s party.

  9. Leon on Fri, 17th Sep 2010 1:29 am 

    This Bill is not fair, but if we are to make ZANU pf pay for its sins, we will be keeping pressing a suffering button for everyone. It would have brought a space for us to develop and shift politics back to the party offices without affecting the nation. What most pple ignore is the fact that many of other party members were once ZANU pf members. This bill might drag them into hell also.

  10. Guvnor on Fri, 17th Sep 2010 1:42 pm 

    Chinamasa may or may not have this bill passed in an attempt to sweep events of the past under the carpet. However what must be remembered is that even if a future government says that it will not prosecute such cases this does not mean that individuals loose their right to seek redress and compensation in the courts. At international level crimes against humanity will still be prosecuted. It is moot wether a future government will or will not extradite those indicted by international tribunal.

  11. Leon on Sun, 19th Sep 2010 12:49 pm 

    Zimbabweans should have been involved in the judging of this bill also. It affects us and might have reflected our readness to move on, Nkomo and Mandela are heros today coz they refused an eye for an eye thing. MDC doesnt represent every Zimbabwean, this is selfishness to try and think for everyone, easp the ones suffering. He should have given us a chance to set up our future, a future with dignity and kuregererana.

  12. choyachatsva on Mon, 20th Sep 2010 6:27 am 

    thats what you think guvnor, but the bottom line is chinamasa is an old person and he cannot take people at ransom or drag the country into chaos as you think. as a justice minister, he knows much about law compared to you guvnor. He took his time and consulted so many people before presenting this bill hence it was counter attacked by your friends Guvnor. The mdc-t, who wants the country to keep onn suffering.

  13. Guvnor on Mon, 20th Sep 2010 9:50 am 

    Ha ha ha choyachatsva I hope you are not aserting because of his age the man is wise. Even foolishness can have lifelong practice!!!

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