‘Two died be­fore army de­ploy­ment’

The Sunday Mail (Zimbabwe) - - NEWS - Chief Re­porter

TWO vic­tims of the Au­gust 1, 2018 vi­o­lence died be­fore the po­lice asked the mil­i­tary to as­sist them quell the op­po­si­tion-led post-elec­tion protests in Harare, it has been al­leged.

Ev­i­dence brought be­fore the Com­mis­sion of In­quiry into the Post-Elec­tion Vi­o­lence, chaired by South Africa’s former Pres­i­dent Kgalema Mot­lanthe, in­di­cates that at least two peo­ple were killed be­fore mil­i­tary as­sis­tance was re­quested.

The op­po­si­tion MDC Al­liance, Zim­babwe Doc­tors for Hu­man Rights and the pri­vate me­dia have in re­cent days claimed the mil­i­tary killed six peo­ple dur­ing the vi­o­lent protests that were fanned by peo­ple who claimed the elec­tion had been “stolen”.

Pres­i­dent Em­mer­son Mnan­gagwa and Zanu-PF swept the polls, and MDC Al­liance leader Mr Nel­son Chamisa and his close acolytes had de­clared be­fore hand that they would make Zim­babwe un­govern­able if the op­po­si­tion did not win.

Last week, af­ter the Com­mis­sion of In­quiry told Mr Chamisa to ap­pear be­fore it, the op­po­si­tion leader la­belled his sup­port­ers “stupid” for get­ting into the streets when they did, and in­di­cated he would not ap­pear be­fore the panel un­less Pres­i­dent Em­mer­son Mnan­gagwa and Vice-Pres­i­dent Dr Con­stantino Chi­wenga also did.

Com­men­ta­tors say this is part of Mr Chamisa’s “jit­tery strat­egy” to dis­tance him­self from the vi­o­lence.

The Sun­day Mail is re­li­ably in­formed that a per­son who made sub­mis­sions to the com­mis­sion on con­di­tion of anonymity led ev­i­dence to the ef­fect that two peo­ple were killed prior to the mil­i­tary lend­ing as­sis­tance to the po­lice.

“Among the most damn­ing ev­i­dence is doc­tors’ con­fir­ma­tion of two peo­ple who died be­fore the sol­diers were de­ployed.

“This means that while there has been an as­sump­tion that it was the sol­diers who shot the peo­ple, ev­i­dence at hand shows oth­er­wise.

“Mr Chamisa did not be­tray his sup­port­ers out of ig­no­rance, he knows that there is strong ev­i­dence to nail him.”

Com­mis­sion Sec­re­tary Mrs Vir­ginia Mab­hiza yes­ter­day said they ex­pected Mr Chamisa to ap­pear be­fore the panel.

Asked why Pres­i­dent Mnan­gagwa and VP Chi­wenga had not been sum­moned, Mrs Mab­hiza ex­plained: “He (Mr Chamisa) was im­pli­cated sev­eral times by wit­nesses; so he has to give his side of the story. The Pres­i­dent and the Vice-Pres­i­dent were not im­pli­cated like Chamisa.”

Ap­pear­ing be­fore the com­mis­sion last week, former MDC spokesper­son Mr Gabriel Chaibva said MDC Al­liance youths may have ac­ci­den­tally shot each other dur­ing the Au­gust 1 vi­o­lence.

“Our in­ves­ti­ga­tion also es­tab­lished that a busi­ness­man dis­charged his gun by mis­take when con­fronted by demon­strat­ing youths. We could not es­tab­lish if any­one died from the dis­charge but it may be pos­si­ble that some bod­ies were a re­sult of that dis­charge.

“They wanted noth­ing short of dead bod­ies to push their agenda. They had a clearly de­fined agenda to dis­credit the new Gov­ern­ment.”

MDC Al­liance spokesman Mr Ja­cob Ma­fume yes­ter­day said the party would write to the com­mis­sion to­mor­row, and de­scribed Mr Chaibva as “a bit­ter ex MDC mem­ber”.

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