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Motlanthe commission report stirs controversy

Political analysts say the findings of the post-election violence commission of inquiry are an attempt to absolve the real perpetrators of the military assault which left six people dead following mass protests in Harare on August 1.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa who set up a seven member commission of inquiry led by former South Africa president Kgalema Motlanthe, made the report public on Tuesday.

The report, among other things, concluded that the killings of the six arose from the actions of the military and the police deployed by the government while use of live bullets was “unjustified and disproportionate”.

Analysts told CITE that the report could have been more elaborate but the commission tried to balance the outcome in an attempt to shield itself from heightened scrutiny.

Political analyst, Thomas Sithole, said the report was clear that the country`s leaders must face the music.

“But we can only wonder what action would be taken against these soldiers considering that the army denied being responsible for the shootings. How will they discipline the individuals who shot people if they didn’t acknowledge their wrong doing?  Instead what we saw was the promotion of (Anselem) Sanyatwe (presidential guard commander), who told the inquiry that soldiers had not fired at civilians,” he said.

“People now need to see some form of accountability taken and an apology is expected from the deploying authority”.

ZAPU spokesperson, Iphithule Maphosa, said the inquiry was a waste of resources.

“We could have gone for the military and criminal procedures using the already existing infrastructure of the military court martial for the rowdy soldiers who shot fleeing civilians and also the criminal justice system for all involved in different ways,” he noted.

Maphosa claimed the whole exercise was a public relations stunt and wondered whether President Mnangagwa’s administration would even implement the suggested recommendations.

“We really are skeptical as to whether Mnangagwa will consider implementing the suggested recommendations especially on issues to do with state sponsored violence and the impunity with which it is accompanied,” he said.

As for an apology from the commander in chief, the ZAPU spokesperson scoffed that Zimbabweans were expecting the impossible from President Mnangagwa.

“Arrogant impunity is part of the Zanu PF DNA. They refused to apologise for the Gukurahundi genocide where tens of thousands died despite blatant evidence pointing to them. How on earth can we expect them to apologise for only six people?”

Former education minister and lawyer, David Coltart, expressed concern that no justice would take place as the commission said those who used excessive force to kill civilians should only be subjected to an internal investigation and sanctions.

“That is not the law. In my mind the most appalling aspect of this tragic episode is that the army commander who brazenly lied to the Motlanthe Commission that troops fired at 45 degrees and didn’t kill civilians has now been promoted and rewarded by Mnangagwa. He should have been court-martialled.

“In addition Mnangagwa has officially been found to have deployed the troops which then, using excessive force, killed civilians in cold blood. Despite this there still hasn’t been a whiff of an apology, never mind accountability,” he wrote on his twitter.

Coltart said he was keen to know ho much government spent to finance the operations of the commission.

“Citizens now expect to be told how many taxpayers’ dollars were spent paying the fees and expenses of the Motlanthe commissioners. Furthermore were they paid in US$ or RTGS?”

 

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