via President subverts gender commission – The Zimbabwean 22 July 2015
President Robert Mugabe offloaded deserving candidates and stuffed the newly formed Zimbabwe Gender Commission (ZGC) with applicants with strong links to the ruling Zanu (PF).
This revelation was made by legislators who participated in the selection process. Parliament shortlists applicants for commissions and conducts public interviews, after which a final list is forwarded to the president and appointments made.
Short-listing is done after the flighting of adverts. But sources said Mugabe struck off most of the leading applicants and chose those that had performed badly.
“We were surprised that almost all the leading candidates we interviewed did not make it into the commission. The candidates who got the highest marks were from independent organisations and did not have any direct links with Zanu (PF).
“This is pathetic. It makes our job as selectors useless if after going through the painstaking selection process, our recommendations are ignored. That means Parliament is only being used to rubberstamp Zanu (PF) choices,” said one of the legislators.
The sources said some 200 people applied to be considered for the post of commissioner in the ZGC. Interviews were done with a final shortlist of 30 applicants. Out of these, 14 made the grade and their names were forwarded to Mugabe who, legally, has the mandate to appoint the commissioners.
“It is shocking to discover that those who dominate the commission were among the low performers on the final list,” said another MP. “It is clear that the appointments were made on a partisan basis”. Eight candidates were taken from the final list while a ninth – Chief Mawonera – was chosen from outside by the president.
The commission comprises Margaret Mukahanana-Jangarwe (chair), Sibongile Chambakale-Mauye, Naomi Chimbetete, Tsungirirai Hungwe-Chimbunde, Nyepudzai Nyangulu, Victor Nkiwane, Bishop Paul Kadzima, Obert Machalaga and Peter Mawonera.
The parliamentary panel of selectors was chaired by Nelson Chamisa, the MDC-T MP for Kuwadzana. He could not be drawn into commenting on the selection, save to say: “We did what we were supposed to do and left the rest to the president who appoints commissioners. He certainly has answers on how the final list was arrived at.”
In the dark
Biata Nyamupinga, the chair of the parliamentary portfolio committee on women’s affairs and Zanu (PF) MP for Goromonzi West, said she was in the dark about how the selection was made.
“We as a committee are as surprised as you about the composition of the gender commission. We were not part of the selection committee so we don’t know what the committee’s requirements and criteria were. We are equally in the dark,” said Nyamupinga.
The selection process had its share of drama, said another MP, as the majority of the applicants struggled to explain the concept of gender. “One female candidate was asked what made her believe that she was suitable to be a gender commissioner. Her answer was shocking. She said she was suitable because she had two daughters. That is the quality of applicants that dominated the selection process,” said the MP.
Some of the commissioners have clear links to Zanu (PF). Sangarwe-Mukahanana is a former senior employee in the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) and a former permanent secretary in the Ministry of Tourism.
Matshalaga is a former deputy minister in foreign and home affairs as well an ex-MP for Zanu (PF) while Kadzima, is former Zanu (PF) MP for Nyanga and Hungwe-Chimbunde was at one time the deputy health minister in Mugabe’s government.
Tired and retired
Obert Gutu, the MDC-T national spokesperson, dismissed the commission as partisan. “The MDC would like to express serious reservations about the composition of the recently appointed Zimbabwe Gender Commission… The Zimbabwe Gender Commission is largely composed of tired, retired and recycled Zanu (PF) activists and regime apologists.
“Seven (other) commissioners are either former Zanu (PF) legislators, government ministers under Zanu (PF) or known Zanu PF apologists,” said Gutu.
There is concern that most of the commissioners lack appropriate background in the area they are supposed to manage. A close look shows that the majority of them has not directly participated in activities or institutions relating to the rights and welfare of women, men and children.
President Mugabe has over the years been accused of appointing Zanu (PF)-linked people to constitutional commissions, among them Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) and the anti-Corruption Commission of Zimbabwe (ACCZ).