HARARE – NewsDay – 28 October, 2014 -THE Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) will now begin to investigate administrative justice cases after the repeal of the Public Protector Act by the new Constitution.
SENIOR PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER
Chairman of ZHRC Elasto Mugwadi told NewsDay in a recent interview that were many complaints to do with maladministration, especially involving labour issues which was tantamount to human rights abuse.
“The commission inherited the responsibility of public protector, which office was abolished by the Constitution following repeal of the Public Protector Act,” Mugwadi said.
“ZHRC is not only there specifically to look after the interests of the people, it is also there to keep checks on government in respect of administrative justice delivery, and we are now able to investigate human rights-related maladministration complaints after receiving support from development partners.”
The United Nations Development Programme, European Union, the Norwegian and Danish embassies and other partners had been assisting the underfunded ZHRC with resources.
On issues to do with independence of the ZHRC, Mugwadi said although the Constitution stipulated they were an independent institution, the commission would still have to submit reports to Parliament and also work with the Parliamentary Thematic Committee on Human Rights.
Recently there were rumours that the ZHRC cannot be summoned to appear before any Parliamentary committee because they were an independent body.
“We will be submitting reports to Parliament and if issues arise from those reports, Parliament will seek clarification and that will be through interaction with its committees. It might be seen as interference with the ZHRC independence, but we will need to interface with the legislature for purposes of highlighting matters of a human rights nature.”
Mugwadi said since the commission depended on funding from the fiscus, interaction with Parliament would remain important.