Violence probe in home stretch
THE Presidential Commission of Inquiry into the August 1, 2018 Post-Election Violence in Harare is likely to conclude its fact finding this week before drawing conclusions.
The seven-member commission’s tenure lapses on December 19, but President Emmerson Mnangagwa can extend its term if necessary.
The probe team, led by South Africa’s former President Mr Kgalema Motlanthe has taken testimony from a wide array of individuals and organisations.
Violence broke out when suspected MDC-Alliance supporters took to the streets on August 1, 2018 demanding immediate release of election “results” declaring Mr Nelson Chamisa as the winner of the polls.
The violent demands came well before the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission was constitutionally required to announce results. President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his Zanu-PF trounced the opposition in the elections.
In an interview last week, the commission’s spokesperson Mr John Masuku said the probe would likely be completed before month-end.
“The commissioners gave themselves a tough target and they are highly likely to finish their work this month-end, but in the event of a failure there is no problem because they will still be within their timeline and 90 days will lapse on the 19th of December,” said Mr Masuku.
“As things stand right now and as the Commissioners see it, they will be through with their work within their given time-frame, but if other things come up they will get the permission to extend from the President.
“The commission was given 90 days from the 19th of September, so they are supposed to finish on the 19th of December. As soon as they finish with their work, they will hand over their findings to the President.”
Asked about demands by Mr Chamisa that President Mnangagwa and Vice-President Dr Constantino Chiwenga be summoned to appear before the commission, Mr Masuku said, “If they feel they have insufficient information and they still want to gather more evidence and the missing evidence can only be nourished if the President and the Vice-President are available, then they will be invited to appear before the Commission.
“So far the commissioners are happy with what they have been gathering, they have been here in Harare, and they have also gone to other major cities all in the quest to gather enough evidence.
“The reason to go to other parts of the country was to get the national feeling about this whole thing because it affects development of the whole nation.”
He said the commission was determined to produce a credible report.
“As you can see, as the commissioner’s progress with their work, some of them are being attacked for their past membership to different organisations, but they are working above that.
“They are saying look, we are doing a national duty here, we would want to be as credible as possible, and so it is important that they are judged for their report.
“It does not only end with a report to the President, but there are also going to make recommendations about the way forward.”
With Mr Motlanthe on the commission are international law expert Mr Rodney Dixon (UK), former Commonwealth Secretary-General Chief Emeka Anyaoku (Nigeria), former Tanzania People’s Defence Forces Commander General (Retired) Davis Mwamunyange, University of Zimbabwe lecturers Professors Lovemore Madhuku and Charity Manyeruke, and former Law Society of Zimbabwe president Mrs Vimbai Nyemba.