Lying under oath, or perjury is a serious offence. People who are charged with perjury may face a variety of severe legal ramifications if they are convicted. Some of these legal consequences may include having to spend time in jail, probation, or paying fines to the court. It can also interfere with their ability to obtain employment or security clearance, as they will be convicted of a crime of dishonesty.
What will happen now to the army and police commanders who lied under oath before the Motlanthe Commission of Inquiry? According to a Newsday report, it has been proven that the Commanders lied to the Commission. Police Commissioner Godwin Matanga told the commission that
I received a letter from President Mnangagwa approving the deployment of the soldiers. I have a copy of that letter, and I will be willing to provide it to the commission.
However, the Commission report shows that six letters were written, one signed by officer commanding Harare district, Chief Superintendent Albert Ncube, requesting for the assistance of the military to Matanga, who then wrote to the then Home Affairs minister Obert Mpofu, who, in turn, wrote to the then Defence Minister and Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga.
In another case of perjury, commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces General Philip Valerio Sibanda told the commission that his orders to deploy soldiers on Agust 1 came from Chiwenga and that he had received them verbally and no letter had been written. He told the Commission that
I saw a letter from Commissioner-General of police to the Minister of Home Affairs (then Obert Mpofu), then a letter from the Minister of Home Affairs to the Minister of Defence (then Chiwenga), then a letter from Minister of Defence to the President, requesting assistance from the army. I do not know if the President responded to the letter from the Defence minister. I assume there was verbal communication, I received orders from the Minister of Defence verbally to deploy the military to help the police, there were no written orders to deploy.
The Commission report, however, reveals a trail of written correspondence between the commanders. Both the police and the army denied shooting at fleeing protestors but instead blamed the MDC Vanguard for killing civilians. The report proved that the army and police lied.
The commission has not received any concrete evidence that any persons other than the army and the police used guns during the protests on the 1st of August 2018.