By Tichaona Sibanda
19 February 2013
The appointment of Jacob Mudenda as chairperson of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission has been followed by a barrage of criticism directed towards the principals in the GPA.
Mudenda is a former ZANU PF governor for Matabeleland North and served in that capacity during the period when over 20,000 people were killed in the region by the North Korean trained 5th Brigade.
His appointment to head the commission has provoked an angry response from rights campaigners. Opponents said the move will further discredit an inclusive government that has been on a relentless crackdown of members of civil society organisations.
Social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter saw a deluge of comments, with many expressing shock and condemning the latest development.
Gabriel Shumba, chairperson of the Zimbabwe Exiles Forum, told SW Radio Africa’s Hidden Story program that Mudenda’s appointment symbolizes what is wrong with the inclusive government.
He added that it diminishes the credibility of the human rights system and casts a shadow upon the reputation of the commission as a whole.
‘The fact he was the governor during the Gukurahundi troubles will infuriate those who tried and failed to seek justice for their loved ones who died,’ Shumba.
Our correspondent Lionel Saungweme told us the appointment of Mudenda, implicated in the Gukurahundi atrocities by his association with ZANU PF, has become a huge concern to many people in Bulawayo.
‘Most people here are demanding he be removed as chairperson saying his elevation to that post would damage the integrity and reputation of the rights commission.
‘The people in Bulawayo are asking how on earth is he going to look objectively at human rights issues when he has made a career out of oppressing the masses during his stint as governor,’ Saungweme said.
In 2009 SW Radio Africa also exposed the fact that Mudenda is involved, along with many other ZANU PF officials, in illegal hunting scams.
In 2004 Tourism Minister Francis Nhema granted a lucrative hunting concession to Mudenda, without going to tender.