Make yourself visible to ordinary people, ZHRC told

CIVIL society organisations (CSOs) in Matabeleland region have accused the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) of not being visible in the area.



Speaking at a public meeting held in Bulawayo yesterday to evaluate a ZHRC-European Union-sponsored project meant to breathe life into the commission, the groups said ZHRC should make itself more visible to ordinary people.

The meeting was facilitated by a Ugandan consultant, Aliro Omara, who said he has worked for the human rights commission in his country for 12 years.

“I think the commission, especially this (Bulawayo) office, is not yet visible to the public,” a contributor said.
“There has been not much publicity. Very few people know about this office. We have not seen much activities initiated by the commission in Bulawayo.”

Another speaker said getting the commission to attend events in the region was a nightmare.

“We have tried so many times to invite them to our events as CSOs, but they are not available,” he said. “They always say they have to get clearance from their bosses in Harare. At one point, they even asked us to talk to their bosses in Harare and ask for their clearance, which we found strange.”

Omara, who has been around Africa undertaking training programmes for human rights commissions, said there was need for CSOs to assist the commission in its work.

“As CSOs, you have to push them (ZHRC), otherwise a lot of commissioners fear tackling serious issues.”

ZHRC deputy chairperson, Ellen Sithole referred Southern Eye to her boss Elasto Mugwadi, who could not be reached for comment as he was said to be in a meeting.

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