Home » Human Rights » Analysts Defend Chinotimba Award

Zanu-PF Buhera South legislator Cde Joseph Chinotimba, who last week scooped the Human Rights People’s Choice Awards, beating several prominent contenders, did deserve the award, analysts said yesterday. Cde Chinotimba came out tops after beating television personality Mrs Rebecca Chisamba, Harare lawyer Ms Beatrice Mtetwa, former radio personality Ms Jestina Mukoko, historian Phathisa Nyathi and MDC-T MP and lawyer Ms Jessie Majome in the People’s Choice category.

The event was held in Bulawayo last week.

However, some media castigated ZimRights for giving Cde Chinotimba the award, claiming that he was linked to violations of human rights by being one of the leaders who spearheaded the country’s land reform programme.

By discrediting Cde Chinotimba, the private media was deliberately ignoring the fact that human rights matters bordered around empowering people regardless of their race, creed or belief socially, economically and politically

University of Zimbabwe lecturer Dr Charity Manyeruke, said Cde Chinotimba was a beacon of hope and a symbol of empowerment not only to people in his constituency, but the nation at large through his various interventions.

“The issue of land reform and human rights is fundamental in international law. What happened with the land reform is that the black majority claimed back what was stolen from them. They rightfully claimed back their heritage. That is provided for in international law and other United Nations Conventions.

“Cde Chinotimba scored a first by being one of the leaders in reclamation. It is recognised internationally. Chinotimba has always stood for the poor local communities so that they can access basic needs,” she said.

She said Cde Chinotimba had done notable things such as sourcing money to construct a clinic in his constituency as well as mobilising grain for his drought stricken area.

“When a child was bitten by a hyena in his area, he even took the issue to Parliament. How many legislators have done so? It shows that he is a true aocate of human rights,” she said.

Midlands State University lecturer Dr Nhamo Mhiripiri, said people undermined economic rights in favour of civil rights, hence some quarters were questioning ZimRights’ decision to award Cde Chinotimba the gong.

“People voted for him (countrywide), there are those who think economic rights should take precedence. You can only be dignified if you have access to food, shelter and other basic needs. It will not help to have the right to vote when you are starving.

“When Chinotimba led people in the land reform programme, he was uplifting the masses,” he said.

A prominent lawyer who cannot not be named for professional reasons, said the problem with the private media and some Western-backed NGOs was that they apportioned more rights to whites and those who opposed Zanu-PF.

“They do not believe Cde Chanotimba is championing human rights because he is doing it to the downtrodden and economically dis-empowered. These people think that the opposition party members and whites are the only people who have rights,” he said.

ZimRights director Mr Okay Machisa, told those opposed to granting of the award to Cde Chinotimba that people of Zimbabwe had voted for the Buhera South legislator.

He said people could comment as much as they wanted, but his organisation did not nominate Cde Chinotimba, but was the people’s choice.

He said all provinces had fielded 10 candidates of their choice and 110 names were submitted to ZimRights and Cde Chinotimba emerged the winner.

Cde Chinotimba could not be reached for a comment yesterday, but recently told the media that he hoped his achievement would please President Mugabe and his two vice presidents, Cdes Emmerson Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mphoko.

“Despite the negative coverage in the media the people chose me. Vakaona ndisina mhosva dzandainenerwa,” he said bubbling with excitement.

Cde Chinotimba emerged the winner in a contest in which people voted through texts and Whatsapp.

He also won the Male MP Rights Defender award while Ms Majome won in the female category.

Source : The Herald