COMMISSIONS WATCH 5/2021
Parliament Calls for Public Nominations of Persons to Fill a Vacancy on the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission [ZHRC]
Parliament’s Committee on Standing Rules and Orders has published an advertisement set out below notifying a vacancy that is to arise within the Commission. The advertisement is self-explanatory and calls for members of the public to nominate persons who they think should be considered for appointment by the President to the vacant position.
The ZHRC is established by Chapter 12 of the Constitution but existed long before the 2013 Constitution. The ZHRC came into being in 2008 by the Global Political Agreement signed by ZANU-PF and the two MDC formations at that time. It was then given effect by a Constitutional amendment and then later on established in the 2013 Constitution in Chapter 12. The ZHRC thus holds a special place in our democracy in that it is a commission that seeks to promote awareness and respect for human rights amongst other functions. Without the realisation of human rights and the work of the ZHRC, our label as a democracy is brought into disrepute. The character and integrity of ZHRC nominees therefore is of great importance.
As aforementioned, the published advertisement calls for nominations to fill only one vacancy. The five year term of office of one of the current Commissioners is coming to an end in September 2021. The advertisement explains in detail the qualifications required of candidates, the functions of the Commission as set out in the Constitution and how nominations should be submitted. Important points are that:
- a)there is a deadline – nominations must be received at Parliament before 4.30 pm on Friday 30th April 2021;
- b)an official nomination form must be used – this may be obtained from Parliament [details in the advertisement] or can be downloaded from the Veritas website [link] – and a separate nomination form must be used for each nominee.
- c)Nominations may be submitted by email [an email address is provided] as well as more old-fashioned methods.
Other Relevant Points for Would-be Candidates and their Nominators
Ineligible persons [Constitution, section 320(3)]
The following persons are not eligible for appointment: members of Parliament, members of provincial or metropolitan councils, members of local authorities [city and town councillors, local board members, rural district councillors] and members of government-controlled entities [board members of parastatals and government-controlled companies].
Commission members to be non-political [Constitution, section 236]
Commissioners must not, in the exercise of their functions, act in a partisan manner, further the interests of any political party or cause, prejudice the lawful interests of any political party or cause, or violate the fundamental rights or freedoms of any person.
A member of a political party or organisation may be appointed to the Commission, but must without delay and in any event within thirty days of appointment relinquish the membership – failure to relinquish within 30 days means automatic and immediate forfeiture of the appointment. If a Commission member becomes a member of a political party or organisation, he or she immediately ceases to be a Commission member.
Term of office [Constitution, section 320]
The term of office is five years, renewable only once.
What Happens after Parliament Receives Nominations?
Section 237(1) of the Constitution spells out what must happen after the CSRO receives nominations. The CSRO will conduct public interviews of prospective candidates [the venue and date will be advertised to enable public attendance], prepare a list of nominees for appointment, and then submit the list to the President.
CALL FOR PUBLIC NOMINATIONS FOR PERSONS TO SERVE ON THE ZIMBABWE HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION
The Committee on Standing Rules and Orders (CSRO) of the Parliament of Zimbabwe is mandated in terms of sections 237, 243 and 244 of the Constitution, to nominate candidates for appointment by His Excellency, the President, to serve as Commissioners on the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission as provided for in Chapter 12 Part 3 of the Constitution.
One (1) vacancy will arise in the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission on 21st September, 2021, which is the expiry date of the term of office of one of the Commissioners. Accordingly, the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders is hereby calling on the public to nominate persons to be considered for appointment to this Commission.
The functions of the Commission and the person specifications are given below.
- ZIMBABWE HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION
Functions of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (sections 243 and 244 of the Constitution)
The Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission has the following functions—
(a) to promote awareness of and respect for human rights and freedoms at all levels of society;
(b) to promote the protection, development and attainment of human rights and freedoms;
(c) to monitor, assess and ensure observance of human rights and freedoms;
(d) to receive and consider complaints from the public and to take such action in regard to the complaints as the Commission considers appropriate;
(e) to protect the public against abuse of power and maladministration by State and public institutions and by officers of those institutions;
(f) to investigate the conduct of any authority or person, where it is alleged that any of the human rights and freedoms set out in the Declaration of Rights has been violated by that authority or person;
(g) to secure appropriate redress, including recommending the prosecution of offenders, where human rights or freedoms have been violated;
(h) to direct the Commissioner-General of Police to investigate cases of suspected criminal violations of human rights or freedoms and to report to the Commission on the results of any such investigation;
(i) to recommend to Parliament effective measures to promote human rights and freedoms;
(j) to conduct research into issues relating to human rights and freedoms and social justice; and
(k) to visit and inspect—
- prisons, places of detention, refugee camps and related facilities; and
- places where mentally disordered or intellectually handicapped persons are detained; in order to ascertain the conditions under which persons are kept there, and to make recommendations regarding those conditions to the Minister responsible for administering the law relating to those places.
- Members of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission must be chosen for their integrity and their knowledge and understanding of, and experience in, the promotion of human rights.
- Number of vacancies – ONE (1).
Nomination material must consist of a typewritten submission of no more than two A4 pages long stating why the person nominated is a suitable candidate together with a completed nomination form which can be obtained at Parliament Offices (Counsel to Parliament – 3rd Floor Room 306 or Human Resources – 4th Floor Room 405) or downloaded from the website: www.parlzim.gov.zw
Nominations must be addressed to the Clerk of Parliament in sealed envelopes clearly marked with the name of the Commission. These may be emailed to email@example.com, posted, or hand delivered to:
The Clerk of Parliament
Parliament of Zimbabwe
Cnr. Kwame. Nkrumah Avenue and Third Street
P.O. Box CY 298
Closing date for the submission of nominations is end of business hours on Friday 30th April 2021.
Veritas makes every effort to ensure reliable information, but cannot take legal responsibility for information supplied.