“Do not militarize the Zimbabwe Independent Complaints Commission”

Parliament through the Joint Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs and Defence and Home Affairs is currently holding public hearings on the Independent Complaints Commission Bill (H.B.5, 2020).The public hearings run from the 7th-11th of June 2021 in various places. Section 210 of the Constitution provides for an Independent Complaints Mechanism. For the operationalisation of this mechanism, an Act of Parliament must provide an effective and independent mechanism for receiving and investigating complaints from members of the public about the misconduct on the part of members of the security services and for remedying any harm caused by such misconduct. The security services in Zimbabwe consist, as detailed under Section 207 of the Constitution, of the: Defense Forces; Police Service; Intelligence Services; and Prisons and Correctional Service, and any other security services established by Act of Parliament. The Zimbabwe Independent Complaints Commission Bill was gazetted on the 24th November 2020, in fulfillment of Section 210 of the Constitution. This came after the Constitutional Court issued an order in favour of Hilton Chironga and Heal Zimbabwe Director, Rashid Mahiya compelling the government to gazette a Bill for the Act envisaged by Section 210 of the Constitution by the 9th of November 2020.

The most prominent issue raised by participant was that Commissioners and personnel who will serve in the Commission must not be members of the security services since most of them account for the majority of human rights against citizens especially during elections. Another dominant issue was that the Commission was supposed to investigate and prosecute members of security services who committed human rights violations during state sponsored atrocities such as Gukurahundi and 2008 political violence.

Below are some of the contributions from the Gwanda and Bindura public hearings that were concluded on 8 June 2021;

Gwanda

  • Members of the security Services must not serve in the Commission
  • The Commission must be independent and be allowed to fulfill its mandate without any interference by an arm of the government.
  • The Independent Commission must investigate Gukurahundi and ensure that perpetrators are prosecuted
  • The Bill must clearly spell out how the Commission will deal with violations committed since independence. Atrocities that it must deal with include Gukurahundi
  • This Bill gives the President more powers to appoint individuals that serve in the Commission
  • The Commission must produce two reports per year instead of one annual report as provided for by the Bill
  • The Commission must also deal with human rights violations by members of the security services at roadblocks
  • The Bill does not provide for 50/50 gender representation for personnel that will serve in the Commission
  • The Commission must not be funded by individuals but by government and other sources
  • The Commission must be accountable to Parliament and must also submit annual reports consistently
  • The Bill is silent on the need to protect witnesses who report cases of human rights to the Commission
  • The Bill must outline how investigations by the Commission will be conducted
  • The Commission must deal with issues dating back to more than the 3 years in the bill
  • The Commission must decentralise to all districts across the country
  • The Commission must not only investigate but must be given powers to prosecute
  • The Commission must create a safe environment for women when they report violations

Bindura

  • The Bill must clearly spell out how the Commission will deal with violations committed since independence. Atrocities that it must deal with include 2008 violence
  • The Bill must specify how the Commission will be decentralized to rural areas
  • The Commission must be given arresting powers so that members of the security services that perpetrate human rights violations are arrested
  • The three year prescription of the tenure of the Commission is restrictive. This denies redress from citizens who have been violated by members of the security services
  • The Bill must provide for 50/50 distribution of both Commissioners and personnel that will serve in the Commission
  • The Commission must decentralise but it must deploy personnel who speak local languages
  • The Bill gives the President sweeping powers when making appointments. He does not even consult with the Judicial Services Commission

Heal Zimbabwe will continue to monitor Parliamentary processes such as public hearings on bill as this enhances citizen participation in the crafting of laws

Source: Heal Zimbabwe

Share this update

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on whatsapp
Share on email

Liked what you read?

We have a lot more where that came from!
Join 36,000 subscribers who stay ahead of the pack.

Related Updates

Related Posts:

Categories

Categories

Authors

Author Dropdown List

Archives

Archives

Tag Cloud

All the Old News

If you’re into looking backwards, visit our archive of over 25,000 different documents from 2000-2013.