Saturday, September 18, 2021

Women advocate for transparent, inclusive complaints commission

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Veeslee mhepo 

Women in Masvingo have said the newly gazette Independent Complaints Commission Bill should provide for transparency and equally represent men, women and people with disabilities.

The Bill, when passed into law, will establish a commission to investigate complaints of misconduct on the part of members of the security services and to provide remedies for such misconduct.

It defines examples of misconduct as death in custody, illegal discharge of firearms, rape, torture and violations of human rights.

Speaking at the public hearing conducted by Joint Portfolio Committees on Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Defense and Home Affairs at Civic Centre in Masvingo on Thursday June 10, participants said the selection of commissioners who will sit in the commission should be transparent and inclusive to avoid being compromised.

A Women’s Academy for Leadership and Political Excellence (WALPE ) representative said equal representation of men and women is vitally necessary in the establishment of such a commission.

“Gender gaps must be closed in the establishment of the commission and there should be enough representatives for women to make deliberations easier,” said the representative.

 Another participant, Simbiso Madzongonye said transparent selection of the commissioners should include public interviews not appointments.

“There should be transparency in the selection of members of the commission and public interviews will be more efficient in ensuring a transparent and gender balanced commission,” said Madzongonye.

Woman Coalition of Zimbabwe (WCoZ) representative Belinda Mwale said the commission should also have representatives for people with disabilities (PWDs). 

“The commission should cater for PWDs and there should be equally represented in the commission. Selection of the members of the commission also be decentralized so that everyone gets an equal chance of being in the commission,” said Mwale.

The Memorandum of the Bill states that the envisaged Commission seeks to remedy harm caused by misconduct on the part of any member of the security and that the Commission should be independent from each of the security services. 

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