Political analysts have said Obert Gutu who recently joined Zanu PF and is in the running for a post in the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) does not qualify for the job due to his political affiliation and controversial past.
Section 236 of the Constitution states that members of national commissions should be non-political, yet Gutu publicly joined the ruling party early this March.
He was previously a member of the opposition Movement for Democratic Party (MDC).
Political analysts have also argued that his stint as a prosecutor during the 1980s also puts him in bad light.
Gukurahundi remains a dark chapter in the national memory where over 20 000 people suffered abuse, torture, harassment and murder by the Fifth Brigade.
Gutu, a former deputy minister of justice, was shortlisted for interviews to fill one of the eight vacant posts in the NPRC.
29 candidates, including Gutu, will have to go through the public interviews set for April 14.
Former cabinet minister Professor Jonathan Moyo claimed Gutu’s appointment into the NPRC is a ploy to do President Emmerson Mnangagwawa’s bidding.
“I was a public prosecutor at the Harare Magistrates’ Court and Mbare Magistrates’ Court for just over two years from around 1985 to around 1987. And by the way, what is a ‘Gukurahundi prosecutor,’” said Gutu after Prof Moyo had asked if he was not a prosecutor in the 1980s.
Political analyst, Effie Ncube, said Gutu’s recent political overtures disqualified him for a post in the NPRC.
Ncube said Gutu’s stance on political issues that favoured Zanu-PF would blind his reasoning.
“Gutu does not meet what survivors and victims expect from an impartial NPRC member, not because of his past but because of his current comments on political issues. He has taken a position that is more favourable to Zanu -PF,” he said.
“This is Zanu-PF, which stands accused of having committed genocide with which NPRC is charged to investigate and bring the truth to the surface so he cannot be viewed as an impartial person who can carry out procedure without fear of favour, lead a discovery of the truth or the uncovering of the truth in respect of the Gukurahundi atrocities.”
The political analyst said Gutu’s impartiality was a concern to people seeking justice.
“Gutu is not an impartial person when it comes to Zanu-PF, he is not an impartial person he has a stated position that is favourable to Zanu-PF, the Zanu-PF that committed the genocide, which killed people, that made people disappear, that tortured people. Therefore you need a person who would approach Zanu-PF, as a culprit perpetrator not as a favourable friend,” Ncube said.
Bulawayo MDC Alliance Provincial Spokesperson, Swithern Chiroodza, concurred that if Gutu was appointed into the NPRC, it would serve as evidence that the president was following a script to absolve the state from Gukurahundi atrocities.
“It typifies Mnangagwa’s affinity to hijack organisations for parochial interests. Mnangagwa wants organisations to do his bidding, which ensures that the national interest is subordinated to his personal and political interests. It’s indeed a coup on the mandate of the NPRC, which by analysis becomes the allegorical puppy on Mnangagwa’s laps,” he said.