A layman’s view on the Commission of Inquiry into the August 1 shootings

The Commission of Inquiry which was tasked with investigating the murder of civilians by the military in Harare on August 1, 2018 has begun its work.

Even journalists were beaten by soldiers.

As Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, we are of the firm view that this Commission of Inquiry is highly compromised and not much can be expected from it.

In this article, we would like to put forward a layman’s view concerning the events of August 1 as well as the work of the Commission of Inquiry;

The fact that President Mnangagwa was the appointing authority compromises the work of the Commission of Inquiry. It will be difficult to expect the Commission of Inquiry to come up with evidence that will nail President Mnangagwa or the party that he leads as well as his proxies within the ruling party. The Commission of Inquiry lacks independence and cannot be expected to carry out an independent and credible investigation The local composition of the Commission of Inquiry is highly compromised.

For example, Professor Lovemore Madhuku’s credentials are highly questionable given the fact that he was a contestant during the July 30 elections and was very much critical of the MDC Alliance to an extent that his sentiments amounted to politics of hate. There is also Professor Charity Manyeruke who is not only a Zanu PF member but a serious bootlicker as well and we cannot expect her to objectively judge the party which has fed her so well in the past

The investigations by the Commission of Inquiry ought to focus on who ordered the army to kill civilians who were exercising their democratic right to protest against electoral theft. We note with concern that there is an attempt by the State through the State media to try to blame the opposition for ordering people to go into the streets yet no such order was given.

The issue at hand is that people were killed in cold blood by the military and the action taken by the army ought to be investigated fully

The State has made attempts to justify the move by the army to kill innocent civilians on the grounds that the demonstrators were violent and attacked Zanu PF offices but as was put forward by one witness, the opposition has held several demonstrations and has never bothered to attack offices of the ruling party. The same is true for the ruling party supporters.

Professor Lovemore Madhuku, who is part of the Commission of Inquiry, would attest to this fact given his long history of demonstrating in the streets of Harare.

The hand of the third force, most probably linked to Zanu PF, must be thoroughly investigated and exposed Sentiments from senior Zanu PF officials who include Josiah Hungwe and Terence Mukupe clearly prove that the army was ready to shoot for Emmerson Mnangagwa. In May 2018, Hungwe said Mnangagwa is a soldier who stands ready to shoot for power while Mukupe clearly said the army was ready to block opposition rule even if the opposition wins in elections. In December 2017, Presidential Advisor, Chris Mutsvangwa publicly stated that Zanu PF will seek the assistance of the military to win the 2018 elections President Mnangagwa, as the Commander in Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces has the right to declare war or peace and it is therefore foolhardy to believe that the army would be deployed without his full knowledge. Mnangagwa or his cronies are better placed to know events leading to the deployment of the army into the streets as well as the motive behind that Vice President, Constantine Chiwenga, from his sentiments while he was still Army General, has always been ready to destroy the opposition using the army Some of the soldiers who were identified on camera ought to come before the Commission of Inquiry and give evidence as witnesses.

This would assist in knowing who deployed them to shoot innocent and unarmed civilians Even though the State has been frantically trying to mislead the nation into believing that the August 1 protest was violent, it has to be noted that some of the victims of the army shootings were not part of the protestors but became victims of the indiscriminate shooting by the army. In this vein, it would be justifiable to conclude that the August 1 shootings were an attempt to intimidate people against protesting against electoral theft The army has always played a pivotal role in assisting Zanu PF to steal elections. They have always been part of the ruling party’s violence machinery and events of the bloody 2008 elections are clear testimony to this.

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