Mr. Otto Saki is a human rights lawyer, with a keen interest in governance issues, regional economic communities, civil society and supra national human rights mechanisms. He holds a Bachelor of Laws Honours Degree (LLB) from University of Zimbabwe (2003) and Masters in Law (LLM) from Columbia Law School (2008) obtained under a human rights fellowships program. For his Master’s program, Otto focused on practical human rights interventions in the Americas (refugees, citizenship), enforcement of international law, mass media and economic development, transitional justice, impunity and human rights advocacy, among others. He interned with premier regional human rights organizations such as Southern African Human Rights Trust (SAHRIT), the Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa (IHRDA) (The Gambia). Otto joined Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) in August 2003 as the first Projects Lawyer in a staff compliment of three. After leaving ZLHR in 2009, Otto joined USAID as the Deputy Office Director for the Democracy, Rights and Governance Office until his resignation in August 2013.
For his efforts in advancing human rights and fundamental freedoms, Otto has been recognised internationally including in 2006 and received the Reebok Human Rights Award. In 2007, he also received the Junior Chamber International as one of the ten most outstanding young persons in Zimbabwe in respect of law and human rights. In 2007, he was awarded a fellowship to pursue Masters in Law at Columbia Law School in New York City as well as take personal time off from the gruelling personal and professional routine as a human rights lawyer in Zimbabwe. In 2012, Otto was nominated as one of the inaugural top 35 young Africans. He completed an Executive Course in Leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Otto has litigated before the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and contributed to two publications on human rights and transition in Zimbabwe. He also conducts and facilitates training for lawyers in Zimbabwe and the region, including Swaziland, Sudan and South Sudan. Otto is also a board member of Centre for Applied Legal Research (CALR), the premier law research institution founded by legal scholars and academics.