Vi­o­lence probe in home stretch

The Sunday Mail (Zimbabwe) - - NEWS - Nor­man Muchemwa

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.

Mr Mot­lanthe

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