Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

August 1 culprits must pay the price

The release of the much-awaited Commission of Inquiry report on the August 1 politically-motivated violence that culminated in the death of six innocent civilians when the army was drafted to help the police break protests in central Harare is commendable.

A soldier fires shots towards demonstrators, on August 1 2018, in Harare, as protests erupted over alleged fraud in the country's election. (AFP PHOTO / Zinyange AUNTONY
A soldier fires shots towards demonstrators, on August 1 2018, in Harare, as protests erupted over alleged fraud in the country’s election. (AFP PHOTO / Zinyange AUNTONY

However, it is important for President Emmerson Mnangagwa — who presented the report to the public — to ensure that whoever was responsible for the killing of the six is brought to book.

Also, those of the protesters who went on a rampage, destroying property in the capital city must be pursued and be made answerable for their transgressions.

Over the years, violence has appeared entrenched in the country’s political fabric. Soon after independence, Zimbabwe was thrown into a civil war as disgruntled Zipra elements fought the Zanu PF-led government in what has come to be known as dissident activity mainly in the Midlands and Matabeleland provinces. 

Government’s response was marked by the deployment of the North Korea-trained Fifth Brigade, in an operation that was branded Gukurahundi — which claimed the lives of over 20 000 civilians in the Midlands and Matabeleland.

As a government operation, it then follows that it was State-sanctioned although no one has ever come up to say he or she was responsible for both the deployments and killings.

Perpetrators of those killings have either gone scot-free or were even idolised after getting hero status, subsequently getting interred at the National Heroes Acre.

In the run-up to the harmonised elections of 2008, there was a lot of violence targeted especially at the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) then led by the late Morgan Tsvangirai. 

The run-up to the June 27 presidential run-off poll was the most violent, with Tsvangirai withdrawing from the race after 200 of his supporters were killed in mainly State-sponsored violence.

Violence and killings have been happening with impunity and no action was taken against the perpetrators. 

A day must come when all these murderers face justice.

The Motlanthe report’s recommendations must push Mnangagwa into sending a clear message that the rule of law must prevail in Zimbabwe. 

The president and his government must take the recommendations seriously if the affected families have to find closure. This must also apply to the other violent episodes in our history like Gukurahundi and the violence of 2008.

Never should a Commission of Inquiry be set up for its report to be swept under the carpet. Daily News