In the preamble of the report, the Commission recognizes that what was at stake was the direction that Zimbabwe is supposed to take. It was therefore incumbent upon the commission to outline a pathway that would take Zimbabwe out of a culture of violence which clearly dominates the national political space.
The commission also had an opportunity to contribute to Nation Building, laying a foundation for transitional justice and setting the tone for National Healing.
More importantly the commission had an opportunity to deal with the issue of militarization of the Zimbabwean State as well as setting a foundation for electoral sustainability as a pathway to constitutional democracy in Zimbabwe.
Sadly, the recommendations and the findings of the commission fall short of addressing the above as a result blowing the opportunity to answer the national question once and for all.
The unarmed civilians were killed to entrench ZANUPF in power immediately after a disputed election which we all know was won by MDC President Nelson Chamisa. We are therefore not deceived by the effort of President Mnangagwa to create a sense of urgency in releasing the report.
While the commission correctly locates the soldiers as responsible for the people’s deaths on the 1st of August, the report attempts to put blame on the MDC for organizing 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 recordings of international media.
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.
Is it is ironic that the Commission expects the people who have already exonerated themselves to lead their own investigation.
It is also ironic that when death occurs through the hand of an individual it is murder which according to our laws must be dealt with through the justice delivery system entailing a trial of the suspects at the High Court yet the commission recommends an internal investigation by the murderers.
The report shockingly claims that the law was followed in the deployment of the army basing their arguments on POSA when the constitution outlines how deployment must take place. Once the Commission found that the law was followed it ought to have placed responsibility squarely on the deploying authority in this case Mr. Dambudzo Mnangagwa.
We restate that the Terms of Reference were problematic in that they were judgmental and couched as a witch hunt in a way that could result in immunity for those who killed unarmed civilians in the full glare of the public; international community and; those who commanded them to do so.
A number of the Commissioners appointed had issues of potential bias and conflict of interest that our President Nelson Chamisa and his team adequately explained before the COI. They were compromised in a way that made these findings fairly predictable.
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