'ZimRights must strip Chinotimba of award'

HARARE - Human rights defenders have demanded that Zimrights immediately strip Buhera South Zanu PF legislator Joseph Chinotimba of the so-called “Human Rights People’s Choice” award controversially conferred on him last year.

The calls come after the boisterous politician invaded a farm in Chipinge this week.

Internationally-acclaimed human rights defender, Wellington Chibebe, said Zimrights erred in awarding a “serial human rights abuser” an award.

Chinotimba and his son Edwin seized the 300-hectare macadamia-producing farm owned by former mining executive Collen Gura this week.

Gura acquired the farm in 2005 from Vince Cugnet.

It currently has 60 hectares under macadamia nuts, 10 hectares under avocado pears and also has a 100-hectare nursery with over 31 000 plants.

Onai Sithole, the acting Chipinge district lands officer, ordered Gura to vacate the farm within 45 days in a December 11, 2014 letter to make way for Chinotimba.

Chibebe, the Brussels-based secretary-general of the global workers body ITUC said: “It is disheartening to learn that Chinotimba and his son Edwin are said to be behind the grabbing of a farm in Chipinge, barely a month after the well-known serial human rights abuser was crowned the Human Rights People’s Choice.  

“Zimrights should re-think and possibly strip him of the award, unless our usually principled colleagues at Zimrights are now in the process of endearing themselves with politicians for political mileage.”

Gideon Shoko, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions deputy secretary-general, said he has since approached Zimrights executive director Okay Machisa urging him to strip Chinotimba of the award. He said the self-styled commander of farm invasions was a habitual human rights violator.

“We have told Cde Machisa that you cannot change a leopard’s habits by feeding it with sadza,” Shoko said.

“Now your people’s choice’ human rights defender of the year is not only acting otherwise, but celebrating the grabbing of a farm owned by a black man because he did not go to war. Is this defending human rights?” 

Machisa said his organisation did not condone human rights abuse by anyone, even award winners.

“As an organisation, we do not condone any form of human rights abuse by anyone even award or Nobel Peace prize winners,” Machisa said.

“To us, this has come as a lesson and we will be able to work on ways to come up with criteria that does not allow such people to be awarded in future. We issued a statement last year acknowledging the concerns by people over awarding people with a past that is not clean.”

He did not elaborate if his organisation will strip Chinotimba of the award.

Arnold Batirai, programmes officer of Young Zimbabweans for Socio-Economic Freedom said Zimrights should not only condemn Chinotimba’s actions, but withdraw their award.


Comments (7)

The crop that is ready for harvest is the only factor that has drawn Chinotimba and his son to want to grab this farm. The lame excuse of doing so basing on the fact that the farmer did not participate in the liberation war is a stupid a scapegoat as he is and is nothing short of pure hogwash. These people have a well known record of reaping where they did not sow. For many of those booted out Mujuru allies who we hear have turned to farming, the last harvest they had is that which they got soon after raiding their farms. Officials at Zimrights should bury their heads in the sand with shame after conferring such a dubious character with a human rights award when he is well known for beating up opposition supporters at election time since the year 2000.

Dr Know - 9 January 2015

i thought chinotimba was voted for by the people and so zimrights cant strip him of the award.they didnt bestow it on him,its the people who did.zimrights only organised the event and awards

cheyameni - 9 January 2015

They say a nation gets the government it deserves. We must be the most stupid people on the planet. Or the worst judge of character ever!

Righteous judgment - 9 January 2015

Imi, Chinotimba himself never fought in the war. At Ceasefire many guerillas were apprehensive of what was happening and they gave khaki uniform to mujibhas and other middle aged men to wera and go to assembly points that is how Chinotimba became a war veteran. land is not for those who went to war except if they are telling us to start another war to get land then let it be. The ripening macadam nuts are what he wants Remember one who was voted best banana farmer and one with the best maize crop yet they had grabbed the said winning crops and banana plantation, after that nothing is coming from those award winning farms, why? Can they allow Gura to take his nursery plants and cut down his macadama nut trees so that this thief starts afresh?

maita - 9 January 2015

The headline and article are all nonsense. It does not prove beyond reasonable doubt that Chinotimba is the owner not his son, it does not confirm that they do not have an offer letter from The Ministry of Lands, it does not confirm that the land was never gazetted for land acquisition and distribution.The article is a piece of hate speech seemingly against Cde. Chinotimba, but silently targeting the government as the distribution authority. it focuses on the award that was won through a vote of which I am one of those who participated in the vote, its like it was won or awarded at the discretion of Zimrights which is not true. How does the western fed Chibhebhe ask for the strpping of an award that was won fine and square.

Prosper Chinamhora - 10 January 2015

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Rodney - 10 January 2015

no reason for chinotimba to do that

tapera - 14 January 2015

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