Correspondence attached to the recently published Commission of Inquiry final report on the August 1 killing of six people in Harare show that President Emmerson Mnangagwa was aware of and authorised the deployment.
The report compiled by the Kgalema Motlanthe-led inquiry points at the army and the police as having fired the fatal shots that claimed the lives of six Zimbabweans. Some of the letters annexed to the report show that government started preparations for deployment of police and the army on July 29, a day before Election Day. The paperwork shows that on August 1, police commissioner-general Godwin Matanga wrote to then minister of Home Affairs Obert Mpofu, making reference to a letter dated July 29 seeking military intervention following demonstrations.
In his letter to Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, Mpofu also refers to the July 29 letter from Matanga as he pleaded for military intervention. Chiwenga, who at the time held the Defence ministry portfolio wrote to Mnangagwa seeking permission to deploy the army and relayed the response from the President to the Defence Forces. After writing to Mnangagwa, Chiwenga then wrote to the commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces Philip Valerio Sibanda. Said Chiwenga:
…the President as commander-in-chief of Defence Forces has authorised the deployment of the Defence Forces, in support of the Police Service in the maintenance of public order. Accordingly, as sanctioned by law, I hereby direct you to command the Defence Forces to immediately deploy and assist the Zimbabwe Republic Police Service to quell the violent disturbances in Harare Central Police district and other areas within Harare Metropolitan province.
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