MOSES MATENGA /CHENGETAI ZVAUYA
Zanu PF says it will thoroughly study the findings of the Kgalema Mothlante Commission and come up with a position
This follows recommendations that include the setting up of a multiparty reconciliation initiative, which should involve national and international mediation and youths to address the root causes of postelection violence and to identify and employ strategies to defuse tensions.
On Tuesday evening, President Emmerson Mnangagwa personally led the publication of the Kgalema Mothlante Commission Report into the post-election violence on 1 August that saw six people shot dead in the Harare central business district. The Zanu PF spokesperson, Simon Khaya Moyo, said the party would deliberate on the Report findings and come up with a way forward.
“We are going to study the report as the party leadership, and we may have to issue a party position but we can’t do that without going through the report,” Khaya Moyo said.
However, the MDC Alliance spokesperson, Jacob Mafume, described the report as a public relations stunt for the ruling party.
“With respect, it was a public relations show for Zanu PF, we reject the report in its entirety but sadly for Zimbabweans, we are back to square zero,” Mafume said at a press conference yesterday.
He told the assembled journalists that the Report findings confirmed “what we all knew that the military shot innocent Zimbabweans on that fateful day,” said Mafume.
“While the Commission correctly locates the soldiers as responsible for the people’s deaths on 1 August, the report attempts to put blame on the MDC for organising a demonstration and planning violence, while also falsely claiming that the protestors were armed, something that cannot be confirmed using any of the available video footage including the recordings of the international media,” he said, adding that the MDC had expected Motlanthe to present the report himself as the standard worldwide.
“The chairperson was supposed to present the report and justify his recommendations to the media,” Mafume argued.
“We also have a problem with the report in that it did not state the issue of compensation to victims, stating the quantum that each family which lost its member is entitled to as this is also a standard principle.”
Mafume pooh-poohed the idea that the military would investigate itself as was recommended by the Commission. “There is a shocking recommendation that the soldiers and the police are supposed to investigate themselves despite the fact that the military personnel who were interviewed by the Commission denied any wrong doing.”
Mafume said that the MDC Alliance had also problems with the panel of commissioners, because “some of the commissioners had issues of potential bias and conflict of interest that our president, Nelson Chamisa, and his team adequately explained before the [Commission]. They were compromised in a way that made these findings fairly predictable.
“This is why the [Commission] tries faint-heartedly and suggests that campaign speeches of the MDC heightened tensions and contributed to violence,” Mafume added.
But observers said the political parties should take the Report findings seriously and use them to find each other in order to avoid a recurrence of election violence in the future.
The Commission revealed polarisation in the country’s politics and media and said it needed international mediation to resolve it. There were also calls for dialogue between the country’s biggest political parties, Zanu PF and the MDC Alliance.
Zanu PF, through its secretary for administration, blames the violence on the MDC Alliance and its leadership while the opposition blames the army, the police, and the ruling party for the events that led to the shooting of the six people.
Compensation for the victims was recommended by the Mothlante Commission, which also asked Parliament to consider legislation that shorten the time to announce results of elections.
The Commission also recommended that the police be trained further and be capacitated in handling rioters. “The police should be trained to be professional and nonpartisan,” the Commission said.
The Report also urged the police to expedite investigations to bring to book all who were at fault on the day. Also recommended was the identification of the members of the army and police who breached their professional conduct on the day.