via Human rights commission grounded | The Herald June 23, 2014 by Lloyd Gumbo
The Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission failed to visit flood victims at Tokwe-Mukosi and Tsholotsho because it does not have vehicles. In an interview on Thursday, ZHRC chairperson Mr Elasto Mugwadi said most of the commissioners did not have vehicles, making it impossible for them to do their work.
He said Treasury was failing to pay salaries of commissioners and staff on time while lack of resources in general had impacted negatively on their operations.
“We applied for release of funds from Treasury at the end of March so that we could hire vehicles for commissioners to visit Chingwizi, but I think the application is still under consideration,” he said.
Mr Mugwadi said only their baseline survey consultancy had visited Chingwizi and Tsholotsho and were expected to give feedback when the commission starts work on July 1 2014.
He said the release of the US$2 million allocated by Treasury was coming in “drips and drabs”, making it difficult for the commission to exercise its mandate.
“For instance, most of our staff and commissioners got their May salaries only last week, said Mr Mugwadi.
“We are still not managing our funds independently of the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs.
“Now that we have the secretariat in place, we are hoping to get our funds directly from Treasury.”
Mr Mugwadi said the commission had six roadworthy vehicles out of 14 that were used by the secretariat. He said inadequate funding forced the commission to stagger staff recruitment as there were only two regional offices in Harare and Bulawayo instead of having offices in all the country’s 10 provinces.
As a result, he said, the Harare office dealt with cases from Harare, Mashonaland East, Mashonaland West, Mashonaland Central and Manicaland.
The Bulawayo office dealt with cases in Bulawayo, Matabeleland South, Matabeleland North, Midlands and Masvingo.