Crucial findings in the commission of inquiry report

Source: Crucial findings in the commission of inquiry report – NewsDay Zimbabwe December 18, 2018

The crucial findings are that:

a. The demonstrations which became riotous and caused extensive damage to property and injury had been incited, pre-planned and well organised by the MDC Alliance;
b. The particular circumstances prevailing on the day justified the deployment of the Military to assist the Police in containing the riots; and
c. Six (6) people died and thirty-five (35) were injured as a result of actions by the Military and the Police.

The evidence showed that the Government deployed the Military in accordance with the Constitution and the applicable law. The Commission also considered that whilst the deployment of the Military was lawful, the operational framework in terms of Section 37 (2) of Public Order and Security Act [Chapter 11:07 ] was not fully complied with in that the deployed troops were not placed under the command of the Harare Regulating Authority.

The Commission made several recommendations. Some of the key one’s concern:

a. Payment through a special Committee to be set up by the Government, of compensation for losses and damages caused including, in particular, support and school fees for the children of the deceased;
b. Promotion of political tolerance, and responsible and accountable leadership and citizenry;
c. Electoral reforms including the development of Information Communication Technology (ICT), to among other things enhance the transparent and expeditious announcement of election results;
d. The enforcement of law and order in order to ensure that the events of the 1st of August 2018 are not repeated;
e. Accountability in respect of the alleged perpetrators; and
f. Nation building and reconciliation including an initiative for multi-party dialogue and cooperation.

6.4. Whether the degree of force used was proportionate to the ensuing threat to public safety, law and order

a. Given that property and lives were under threat at various locations, and in light of the inability of the Police to disperse the protesters, the firing by the Army and the Police of warning shots in the air in pursuit of their stated mission which was to clear the CBD of violent protesters was proportionate.

b. However, the use of live ammunition directed at people especially when they were fleeing was clearly unjustified and disproportionate.

c. The use of sjamboks, baton sticks and rifle butts to assault members of the public indiscriminately was also disproportionate.

c. The Commission’s finding on a balance of probabilities from all the evidence received is that the deaths of these six (6) people and the injuries sustained by thirty-five (35) others arose from the actions of the Military and the Police.

d. At least six (6) persons sustained injuries as a result of the actions by the protesters.

The Commission was concerned about incidents of politically related violence against women before, during and post-election period.

a. The Commission noted that it received evidence of persisting grievances among communities especially in Matabeleland and the Midlands, arising from the events of the past such as Gukurahundi.