The opposition MDC Alliance has dismissed the Kgalema Motlanthe led Commission of Inquiry into the events of August 1 which ended with at least 6 people dead after the army used live bullets to disperse a protest which had turned violent. The MDC said the commission was focusing on investigating civilian activities instead of focusing on how soldiers ended up using live bullets on civilians. In a statement, MDC spokesperson Jacob Mafume said,
Commission of inquiry a sham
The MDC takes great exception the current proceedings of the so-called commission of inquiry. The whole charade is nothing but a big sham. It is from this premise that the party will not participate and sanitize this farce which is nothing more than a cover-up exercise.
The whole exercise is a choreographed event meant to provide a platform for Zanu PF supporters meant to shield the entire leadership of the illegitimate regime from the palpable liability.
It is clear the sham commission of inquiry has narrowed down to investigate civilian activity when the actual issue is supposed to be on how soldiers ended up in the streets, firing live ammunition at unarmed civilians.
We restate the point that there was no need to set an inquiry into the contact of the military if the state had complied with section 210 of the constitution which provides for the establishment of an independent complains mechanism against members of the security forces.
The MDC, however, has substantial reservations against the commission as evidenced by how the commission has so far failed to show any intention to call the army men who killed innocent civilians or even the Generals or whoever gave the orders.
On the 29th of August, Emmerson Mnangagwa made a decision to appoint a Commission of inquiry on post-election violence and killings, this decision in our view was unlawful on the basis that he is expected at law to make such a decision in consultation with the cabinet. At the time no cabinet had been set up as provided for under section 88 (2) and section 110 of the Constitution.
Section 110(6) compels the president in carrying out an executive function or decision to consult cabinet.
It is a known fact that the shootout that took place on the 1st of August, was carried out by the military.
The constitutional authority to deploy the military for whatever reason is solely the purview of the President. Operational liability can therefore not be removed from the deploying authority.
Moreover, the constitution is clear that he has to explain himself promptly, in appropriate detail to parliament the reason for deployment and the place of deployment. Deployment of military must have parliamentary approval. Therefore we have taken note of the following:
a) It is the President himself who deployed the military.
b) He has to explain why he deployed the soldiers.
c) He also has to explain the rationality behind such a decision.
d) Did he follow due process in coming up with that decision?
The MDC holds strongly that E.D Mnangagwa is a tainted person and cannot go on to set up a commission of inquiry over his own actions as though he is unaware of what his decision led to.
Furthermore, the choice of commissioners leaves a lot to be desired, especially the local appointees.
Firstly, Professor Lovemore Madhuku participated in the very same elections as a presidential candidate. He, therefore, cannot investigate when he has presumptive liability. Most importantly Professor Madhuku already made pronouncements in public accusing the MDC Alliance and its leaders for being responsible. He already pre-emptied his mind to a subject he now investigates, bringing his impartiality into doubt.
Secondly, Professor Charity Manyeruke is a known staunch Zanu PF supporter who holds a senior position within Mashonaland East Zanu PF Structures and was an official mascot of Zanu PF starring on their campaign commercials singing praise and worship songs for Mnangagwa.
Zanu PF has a material interest over the outcome of this case.
In our view, the police who have already said they are investigating the violence and have in any case arrested scores of people were simply supposed to be empowered to investigate even the soldiers. They cannot do a worse job than the dog’s breakfast.
The terms of reference of the commission are wrong, misdirected and a wild goose chase sadly funded by tax taxpayer’s money.
The rightful terms of reference must hold accountable those behind the trigger, they must, therefore, read as follows:
1. Who deployed the military to the streets and residential areas of Harare on the 1st of August?
2. What was the legal basis for the deployment and nature of the assignment to be accomplished?
3. After the deployment, what was the full extent of the violations of human rights in the period stated?
4. Who were the actual individuals who perpetrated the violations?
5.To what extent was their conduct in line with the laws of Zimbabwe and the UN guiding principles on the use of force in controlling crowds? What was the chain of command leading to these violations?
6. What is the full extent of the harm of the actions by the perpetrators?
7. What assistance was due to each of the affected victims and how much of such was made available?
8. What form and amount of restitution is reasonable and just for each of the person affected.
9. What reforms must be put in place to rebuild the relationship between the people of Zimbabwe and the security services?
10. What measure must be put in place to ensure that never again will such an atrocity happen on Zimbabwean land?