The Zimbabwe African People`s Union (ZAPU) party says the Kgalema Motlanthe commission of inquiry is a publicity stunt by President Emmerson Mnangagwa meant to distract the public from finding out the real culprits behind the death of six people during the August post-election violence in Harare.
In August, President Mnangagwa set up a seven member commission to investigate the death of six people who were shot dead by members of the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) in Harare on August 1.
While viewed as an attempt at unravelling the hand behind the killings, the Dumiso Dabengwa-led party said it showed that Mnangagwa was not in control of the levers of powers.
“The constitution clearly mandates only the president, who is Commander in Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, to deploy the military for any purpose,” the party spokesperson, Iphithule Maphosa said.
“The mere fact that he constitutes a commission of inquiry into actions and functions of his office points to a house on fire in as much as the Zimbabwean government is concerned.”
He said in the event of command lapse, Mnangagwa was supposed to resign over gross incompetence.
“There is abundant evidence showing soldiers aiming and shooting with live ammunition at fleeing and retreating protesters,” said Maphosa.
“In the event he is not in control of the military, Mnangagwa was supposed to resign, again for incompetency and for being an accessory to state capture. In the most likely event he is being dishonest with the truth concerning loss of lives at the hands of the state.”
Maphosa added that this is not the first time lives have been lost at the hands of the military and at Mnangagwa’s behest.
“We’re still seized with unresolved Gukurahundi genocide of 1980s, in which he played a very prominent role. The Gukurahundi genocide was reminisced in Harare, albeit on a very small scale but the impunity with which all these killings have been undertaken shock us as ZAPU,” he said.
Maphosa said on the fateful day the military ignored its code of conduct thereby committing crime and not taking heed of the civilian justice system.
He said the commission mainly serves a ploy to clear Mnangagwa’s name on an international arena.
“The country certainly did not need to waste scarce resources on a commission of inquiry into a criminal act, but we of course have a question of image and legitimacy to address and Mnangagwa has, sadly taken this as opportunity to clean himself before the international community,” said Maphosa.
The commission has already conducted hearings in Harare, Bulawayo and Gweru.
However, there was an outbreak of violence during the Bulawayo which forced proceedings to be temporarily suspended.
One of the witnesses, Siphamandla Mafu, was arrested after he claimed Mnangagwa killed his parents during the 1980s atrocities.