The Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum has appointed lawyer Vera Musara as its new executive director.
Musara takes over from Musa Kika, who left the Forum in August last year to take up a new post with an international human rights organisation based in Spain after leading the local rights organisation for three years.
Wilbert Mandinde was acting director until Musara’s appointment at the beginning of this month.
According to a notice of appointment by the Forum board led by Transparency International of Zimbabwe director Tafadzwa Chikumbu, Musaraas vast experience in human rights law, policy analysis, strategic planning, and research.
“This experience is a culmination of over 20 years of experience in different technical positions in national, regional and international human rights-based institutions,” Chikumbu said.
“Musara is a seasoned development practitioner who has also sat on several boards including those of New Faces New Voices, Women in Finance, Graca Machel Trust, Talia Women’s Network, Bishopslea Preparatory School for Girls and Ruzawi School.”
He said Musara has vast experience in litigation springing from her experience in private practice with Kantor and Immerman Legal Practitioners.
Musara has a law degree obtained from Rhodes University, South Africa, and a Master of Law, majoring in human rights obtained at Essex University in the United Kingdom.
“It is an absolute honour for me to be assuming this role at this time in the Forum’s operations,” she said.
“I look forward to making a meaningful difference and working with all our partners and stakeholders to enhance our collective impact.
“I think it is crucial for us to increase the understanding and appreciation of the great work we do and the work of all our partners and members, who support us to be able to play a meaningful role in our society.”
She added: “We say human rights are universal, indivisible and inalienable essentially emphasising that they are fundamental to us all.
“As the Forum we will continue to advocate for the rights of all, and the inclusion of all citizens, in particular those groups that are more vulnerable.
“We are proud to be working with different entities including the Chapter 12 commissions, different organisations and communities throughout the country.
“Of particular importance to me is the country’s peace architecture and reconciliation efforts and I hope the Forum will be able to join alongside others to enhance and expand platforms for working together progressively for the common good and ultimately for progressing rights in our beautiful country.”
The Forum is a 21-member organisation formed in 1998 with a mandate to address organised violence and torture.
The organisation has documented human rights violations over the years, calling the government to order on the increase o politically motivated violence.
It has also taken the government to court over public interest issues.