Rights Commission ‘Understaffed’

The Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) has said it is seriously understaffed to carry out its constitutional mandate. In an interview, ZHRC acting executive secretary Mr Vengesai Mukutiri said the commission had a staff complement of 55 officers, but needed at least 300.

“We are a Public Protector, Ombudsman and also a national human rights institution,” he said. “So, we have a dual mandate. The office of the Public Protector was closed and its mandate was given to the commission, but the staff members who were working for the Public Protector were sent home; that’s our problem.

“I wish they had just merged. So now we have a staff deficit because in most countries the Public Protector is separate from a human rights institution. But in Zimbabwe it’s combined. We don’t have problems with being combined, but what we want is the resources.

“Ideally, we would like to have around 300 staff members. We are now negotiating to say if we get around 110 to 120 staffers we could still operate. We are not asking for the ideal situation, but we can make do with the minimum compromise.”

Mr Mukutiri said at the moment, the ZHRC had offices in Bulawayo and Harare only, while its duties entailed reaching to communities at provincial and district levels across the country

He said the ZHRC was negotiating with Treasury to enable it to recruit at least four staff members per province.

Source : The Herald

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