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ZimRights Contests Gutu’s NPCR Appointment

By Staff Reporter
The Zimbabwe Human Rights Association and National Transitional Justice Working Group (NTJWG)  have filed an application in the High Court seeking a declaratory order that the newly appointed National Peace and Reconciliation  Commission (NPCR)  Commissioner Advocate Obert Gutu had ceased being a Commissioner.
The application was filled on July 1, 2021.
In a statement, ZimRights wrote, “Gutu’s appointment as a Commissioner of the National Peace and Reconciliation on May 7,2021 by the President of Zimbabwe Emmerson Mnangagwa came shortly after he publicly joined a political party namely Zimbabwe African National Union- Patriotic Front (ZANU PF).”
“In terms of section 236 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe of 2013, if a commissioner of an independent commission is a member of a political organization on his appointment, they must relinquish that political party membership within 30 days of the appointment or they immediately cease to be a commissioner.
“This provision is important since independent commissions are supposed to be apolitical and independent from any political influence.”
ZimRights said Gutu had not said anything about his resignation from Zanu PF as required by the law.
“Gutu’s response on the application is a bare denial that he never joined Zanu PF despite his own publicised admissions which he never retracted,” read part of the statement.
The matter is yet to be determined by the High Court.
Gutu is a former member of MDC-T where he was the party’s vice president. He was vice to party president Thokozani Khupe.
Gutu resigned from the party on January 18, 2020 for what he said were “personal and private reasons.”
On March 17, 2021, Gutu met with President Mnangagwa, Vice President Constantine Chiwenga and other high ranking ZANU-PF officials at the State House where he announced he was joining the ruling party.
In an article published by the Sunday Mail Gutu wrote, “I have joined Zanu PF to serve the nation and not to be served.” 
“I am perfectly comfortable with being just an ordinary card-carrying member.
“I am not a position-oriented party cadre.”
Robert Tapfumaneyi