Zimbabwe’s president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, on Tuesday released the findings of the Mothlante Commission of Inquiry Report that left six civilians killed during the August 1 post-election violence.
President Mnangagwa noted that the use of live bullets by the military to quell the demonstrations was “disproportionate and unjustified”.
It was also found that political rhetoric incited violence.
The release of the findings was controversial in that the Presidential Spokesperson, Mr. George Charamba, had declared the report was for the President’s Eyes Only and not Zimbabweans.
But the president reversed that and announced the report was for all interested parties. After the August 1 shootings, President Mnangagwa appointed former South African Vice President, Kgalema Mothlante, to lead the commission comprising of Chief Emeka Anyaoko - Former Common Wealth Secretary-General, Federal Republic of Nigeria, General Davis Mwamunyange - The Former Chief of Defence Forces of the Tanzania People’s Defence Forces, Mr Rodney Thomas Dixon QC - An International Law Expert from the United Kingdom. Rodney is here to my left and, Professor Charity Manyeruke from the Faculty of Social Studies at the University of Zimbabwe, Professor Lovemore Madhuku from the Faculty of Law, at the University of Zimbabwe and Mrs. Vimbai Nyemba the Former President of Law Society of Zimbabwe.
During the interrogations, there seemed to be two polarised sides giving divergent testimonies.
"From the testimonies of the witnesses who appeared before the Commission of Inquiry, it was noted there is at present a very worrisome degree of polarisation and bitterness within the body politic of Zimbabwe. In this regard, the Commission commends the continuing statements the President of the Republic calling for reconciliation, healing, and unity among the citizenry," read the report.
On one end, were witnesses blaming Nelson Chamisa, and Tendai Biti for inciting the violence while on the other hand, were those who merely blamed the military intervention which saw the killings of six innocent civilians.
The report also justified the military intervention.
"Six people died and thirty five were injured as a result of actions by the Military and the Police. The evidence showed that the Government deployed the Military in accordance with the Constitution and the applicable law. The Commission also considered that whilst the deployment of the Military was lawful, the operational framework in terms of Section 37 (2) of Public Order and Security Act [Chapter 11:07]was not fully complied with in that the deployed troops were not placed under the command of the Harare Regulating Authority," the report said.
The Commission of Inquiry recommended there be compensation by paying for the losses and damages caused including, in particular, support and school fees for the children of the deceased.
It also called for enforcement of law and order in order to ensure that the August 1 event is not repeated.
ZANU PF runaway Godfrey Japajapa, paramilitary former group leader Chipangano Jim Kunaka, Biti, and Chamisa gave their testimonies where the latter speakers turned the inquiry to history lessons.
The Zimbabwe Defence Forces Commander General, Valerio Sibanda, claimed that the infamous soldier whose images went viral on social media for shooting in a kneeling position was pointing his gun at 45 degrees when the pictures showed 180.
However, President Mnangagwa was not summoned by the Commission to give his side of the story.
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