Parliament’s Committee on Standing Rules and Orders (CSRO) will, on Thursday 11th April 2024, conduct public interviews of 15 candidates for appointment by the President as commissioners of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC).

This is according to an advertisement placed by Parliament in the print media and on Parliament’s social media handles.

The interviews started at 9 am.

The advertisement stated that earlier this year the CSRO called on the public to nominate persons to be considered for appointment to the ZHRC and that 55 nominations were received by the closing date (37 males and 18 females).

The CSRO then met and shortlisted 15 suitable candidates for public interviews.

The names of the final 15 candidates – all women – are listed in the ZHRC Final Shortlist Public Interview Programme, which is attached to this email. The programme also contains the times of the interview slot of each candidate.

Interviews are allotted 20 minutes each.

Apparently, parliament has two suggestions in its advertisement for members of the public who wish to follow the interviews, EITHER:

· by using Parliament’s social media handles Twitter (X), Facebook, live-streaming, etc. Links to these platforms can be obtained by visiting Parliament’s website; OR

· from the Multi-Purpose Hall at the New Parliament Building, Mount Hampden. The hall will have a video link to the venue for the interviews, in Committee Room No. 1, First Floor, New Parliament Building.

ZHRC is an independent constitutional commission that was created in 2007 as a result of political and constitutional developments in Zimbabwe.

In its current form, it has a broad mandate to promote and protect human rights and, additionally, to protect the public against abuse of power and maladministration.

Nevertheless, the ZHRC was formed and exists in an unfavourable environment. In spite of some constitutional provisions guaranteeing its independence, this is compromised by political interference and the nature of its appointment procedure.

The ZHRC also lacks visibility and accessibility and, as shown below, is hamstrung by inadequate funding. The formal constitutional and legislative provisions creating and operationalising the ZHRC give the impression that there is compliance with the Principles Relating to the Status of National Institutions (The Paris Principles).

In reality, the political climate poses challenges that hinder the work of the ZHRC and erode its conformity with the Paris.