HRC a front to shield Mugabe – analysts

HARARE - Constitutional Amendment No. 18, setting up the controversial human rights commission, was finally gazetted last Thursday by President Robert Mugabe's government.
The commission has been called a farce by its detractors, aimed at winning votes for Mugabe, who is moving to soothe tensions

over the emotive Gukurahundi and Operation Murambatsvina issues. But proponents say it is a brave attempt to come to terms with the wrongs of the past.
Whatever the truth, the human rights commission, comprising 16 commissioners handpicked by Mugabe, has raised the stakes in the 83-year-old veteran ruler’s endgame. It will be empowered to investigate human rights abuses in Zimbabwe.
Sources close to the developments said the commission would run a few public hearings gathering evidence on Gukurahundi and Operation Murambatsvina in a bid to pull wool over people’s eyes.
The amendment comes as an independent legislator moves to table the Gukurahundi Memorial Bill in Parliament in September, which demands a probe into the Matabeleland genocide in the 80s and punishment for the perpetrators.
The UN, which has been instrumental in the formation of the commission, has been slammed for helping set up a structure that will be used by Mugabe to escape international censure for his appalling human rights record.
Open Society Initiative of Southern Africa boss, Tawanda Mutasah, says Mugabe wants to use the domestic human rights commission to pull out reports tabled at the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights and the African Union detailing gross human rights abuses in Zimbabwe.
“He will simply say the cases are being investigated back home and there is no need for a parallel process,” said Mutasah.

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