Zimbabwe: Rowdy MDC Activists Disrupt Hearings

MDC Alliance activist Shadreck Mashayamombe testifies before the Commission of Inquiry in Harare on November 21, 2018.
22 November 2018

Rowdy MDC Alliance activists, who included some Members of Parliament, yesterday caused a commotion and constantly disrupted the smooth running of the Commission of Inquiry into the August 1 violence that rocked central Harare and claimed six lives and a left trail of destruction.

The supporters and several legislators led by their party vice president, Mr Morgen Komichi, and Chief Whip Mr Prosper Mutseyami thronged a local hotel where the hearings were being conducted in anticipation that their leader, Advocate Nelson Chamisa, would testify after he was invited to respond to allegations that he had incited demonstration after the July 30 harmonised elections.

Mr Chamisa is, however, expected to testify today.

The activists would either jeer at a witness or ululate or clap hands when they were excited by the evidence thereby disrupting the smooth flow of proceedings.

At one stage, proceedings had to temporarily stop as the MDC activists protested against evidence from a witness.

Chairperson of the Commission and former South African president Mr Kgalema Motlanthe repeatedly implored the party supporters to stop interjecting while witnesses were giving evidence.

"Once again, we must appeal to you, do not interject someone who is testifying. I am appealing to you that it is important, you are physically here but there are many people who are watching it on television. I am really appealing to you to say let us have order because this is a public hearing and it is not right for you to interject. Allow the witness to give evidence and you have all the time to analyse and make your conclusions. Please help us, let us work together," said Mr Motlanthe.

At one stage, evidence leader, Mr Thabani Mpofu appealed to Mr Motlanthe to protect a Zimbabwe Republic Police forensic ballistic expert, Superintendent Tsitsi Paradzai, as she was testifying.

"Mr Chairman, Can you please protect the witness," said Mr Mpofu.

Members of the MDC Alliance began to boo Supt Paradzai after she indicated that she had observed that small arms had been used during the violence after studying the cartridges that had been recovered on the crime scene.

"From my opinion, weapons that were used were small arms. I cannot depict the calibre because the holes were tampered with. From my observation, all the bullet holes that were cited were fired from a small firearm and we could not pick which calibre or firearm. I actually took pictures so that commissioners can see how it was tampered with. When I say small arms, these cover small guns, rifles, pistols, shotguns and revolvers. I cannot go straight to say which calibre," said Supt Paradzai.

"At the scene that I attended, it had been tampered with, the bus had already been cleaned trying to remove the bullets that were inside the seats, even on the guardroom (adjacent to Angwa Street and George Silunduka Avenue) I had the picture whose bullet had been removed, but I can specifically say it was small arms."

Responding to questions from commissioners, Supt Paradzai said small arms included weapons below 10mm and include AK47 rifles.

Other witnesses who testified included MDC Alliance activists Messrs Paddington Japajapa and Shadreck Mashayamombe as well as Mr Jimu Kunaka of the National Patriotic Front.

Mr Kunaka and Mr Mashayamombe were expelled from Zanu-PF and in their "evidence" accused the ruling party of violence.

Mr Kunaka confessed that he was a person of violent disposition during his tenure in Zanu-PF and that he was a member of the G40 cabal that had usurped power in the ruling party and the Government taking advantage of their proximity to the then First Family.

Inquiry into the violence is expected to continue today.

Other members of the commission include University of Zimbabwe law lecturer Professor Lovemore Madhuku, Professor Charity Manyeruke and Mrs Vimbai Nyemba.

Foreign members include international law expert Mr Rodney Dixon QC from the United Kingdom, former Commonwealth secretary-general Chief Emeka Anyaoku from Nigeria and former Chief of Defence Forces of the Tanzania People's Defence Forces General (Retired) Davis Mwamunyange.

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