The Commission of Inquiry into the August 1 post-election violence will hear evidence from members of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces and Zimbabwe Republic Police tomorrow.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa established the seven-member commission, chaired by South Africa’s former President Kgalema Motlanthe, to investigate circumstances leading to the violence that rocked Harare soon after the July 2018 harmonised elections.
Public hearings began on October 16 and the commission is expected to present its findings by month-end.
In an interview with The Sunday Mail recently, Secretary to the Commission Mrs Virginia Mabhiza said the hearings were open to the public.
“I want to confirm that on 12 November, the commission will be sitting at its usual venue to hear evidence from, among other groups, the defence forces and the police,” said Mrs Mabhiza.
“Let me make it very clear that the commission is an open commission and in the interest of transparency, no one is going to be disallowed from following its proceedings.
“For purposes of hearing this specific evidence, the commission will as much as possible, in the interest of transparency and in the interest of allowing the public to follow whatever is necessary, allow the public to access the venue of the hearings.”
The commission is also expected to hear evidence from the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission and Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights on Tuesday. The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and Attorney-General’s Office will also be invited.
“I am very confident, especially looking into our work plan and where we are, that we are on time and we hope by 28 November everything will be in place. It will be up to the commission to decide on which date to brief His Excellency the President on its findings.
“Without putting an emotion on how proceedings are taking place, we can actually say there has been a very positive response from the people of Zimbabwe in the sense that people have been coming voluntarily to give their evidence.
“So I can say the commission so far has been going on very well and anticipate that it will finish its business on time, which is by the end of November,” Mrs Mabhiza said.
So far, 13 organisations have submitted written submissions, while 111 individuals gave testimonies.
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.
Meanwhile, commission chair Mr Montlanthe told a media conference in Mutare yesterday — where 13 people gave testimony at public hearings in the border town — that participants volunteering evidence were assured of safety from reprisals or harassment.
“From the 7th to the 9th of November our Secretariat recorded 24 statements here in Mutare from different witnesses. Today the commission heard evidence from 13 witnesses. I, therefore, wish to assure you that all your views will be taken into consideration when we come up with our report and recommendations,” said Mr Motlanthe.
He thanked Zimbabweans for their support for the commission.