Two of Robert Mugabe and ZANU PF loyalists are on the verge of making it into the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC).

The two loyalists namely Jacob Mudenda, the former ZANU PF chairman for Matabeleland North and Joseph Kurebwa, a lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe (UZ) are on the list of 16 candidates shortlisted for imminent appointment to serve on the ZHRC by President Robert Mugabe.  

Mudenda, the former Provincial Governor for Matabeleland North was nominated amongst new ZANU PF central committee members for Matabeleland North.

Kurebwa is the UZ political scientist who is famous for toeing the ZANU PF party line by making a controversial pre-election survey tipping President Mugabe to score a “majority win” in last year’s presidential elections which he however lost to his long-time rival Morgan Tsvangirai in the first round of elections. Tsvangirai failed to garner the mandatory majority to form a government.

A presidential run off that was marred by human rights abuses forced Tsvangirai to pull out of contestation and resultantly Mugabe became “victorious” in a one man race.

Kurebwa’s survey was labeled by the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) as a Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) project after it was disowned by the University of Zimbabwe’s political science department.

Other candidates on the list which was submitted to President Mugabe by the chairman of Parliament’s Standing Rules and Orders Committee (SROC) and Speaker of Parliament Hon. Lovemore Moyo include former Chief Immigration Officer and lawyer Elasto Mugwadi, medical practitioner Douglas Gwatidzo, Benhilda Makomva, Irene Sithole, Eunice Velempini, Professor Carol Temba Khombe, former Bulawayo Mayor Japhet Ndabeni-Ncube, Sethulo Ncube, Kwanele Jirira, Stewart Nyakotyo, Sheila matindike, Kucaca Phulu and Ellen Sithole.

The sixteen were selected from 33 people who were interviewed to serve as commissioners on the ZHRC last month.

President Mugabe is expected to appoint eight members from the 16 nominees four of whom should be women.

He will also appoint a chairperson who should be someone who has been qualified for at least five years to practice as a legal practitioner and who is appointed by the President after consultation with the Judicial Service Commission and the SROC.

According to the Constitution persons appointed to the ZHRC shall be chosen for their knowledge of and experience in the promotion of social justice or the protection of human rights and freedoms.

Among other functions the ZHRC will promote awareness of and respect for human rights and freedoms at all levels of society and to promote the development of human rights and freedoms.

The ZHRC will also monitor and assess the observance of human rights in Zimbabwe and recommend to Parliament effective measures to promote human rights and freedoms.