ZIMBABWE will not immediately respond to the damning African Commission report on Zimbabwe’s human rights record until it establishes its authenticity, the Zimbabwe Independen
t was told yesterday.
Foreign Affairs spokesperson Pavelyn Musaka said: “The main concern of our government is to establish the bona fides of the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights report on Zimbabwe. Once that has been established Zimbabwe will act in accordance with the decision of the AU Assembly of July 8 2004.”
It was reported last week that Foreign Affairs minister Stan Mudenge pledged to respond in seven days to the indictment of the country’s human rights record.
Musaka however said Mudenge was quoted out of context.
“The concerned member-states are expected to submit their responses to the commission sine die (with no time limit),” said Musaka.
The opposition MDC this week said it was disappointed by the failure by the AU summit to discuss the report.
“The bureaucratic and procedural pretext that has been used to justify postponing discussion of an important internal document, that is now two years old, is perplexing and contradictory given that the AU, since its inauguration, has built up an impressive reputation as a force for good in Africa,” said MDC spokesperson Paul Themba Nyathi. “By continuing to find spurious reasons to sweep the Zimbabwe crisis under the carpet the AU is inadvertently providing succour and protection to the disastrous political agenda pursued by Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF, an agenda that is driving the crisis in Zimbabwe.”
Musaka said Zimbabwe was supposed to be given a chance to respond to the report before it was tabled. “We note that some CADHP (Court of African Commission on Human and People’s Rights) reports on the state parties are presented in the form of observations, and invites ACHPR to ensure that in future its mission reports are submitted together with the comments of the state parties concerned and to indicate the steps taken in this regard during the presentation of the annual activity report,” said Musaka.