19 December 2018

Zimbabwe: MDC Questions Violence Probe Report's Originality, Says Doctored By ED

Photo: Mujahid Safodien/GroundUp
MDC supporters protested in Harare after the electoral commission announced that Zimbabwe’s ruling party had won a majority of seats in Parliament and the country braced itself for the first official results of the presidential election (file photo).

THE MDC has cast doubt over the genuineness of the August 1 violence Commission of Inquiry report released Tuesday with party spokesperson Jacob Mafume questioning the absence of any commissioner during the presentation of the report by President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

"The commission did not even announce its own report. One of the persons who is being investigated was made to announce the report," Mafume said Wednesday while referring to Mnangagwa.

"One wonders whether the report was doctored, one wonders whether there were any additions."

As Defence Forces commander-in-chief, President Mnangagwa was seen as an interested party in a high profile probe on the killing of six civilians and the injuring of dozens more by soldiers who were deployed on the fateful day to quash the Harare protests.

"How do you release a report and read it when you were primarily the target of the investigation," Mafume said.

"It is like an accused in a court of law reading his judgment and swearing to uphold his sentencing.

"Up to this point we are not sure until the commission itself says that the report that was read and has been released is the report that it came up with."

In its report, the Kgalema Motlanthe led commission blamed the main opposition for fuelling tensions, ahead of, and on the very day hordes of party supporters invaded the streets in central Harare to protest what they strongly felt was the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission's attempt to steal the vote.

The MDC and its civil society allies, have since dismissed the report for a number of reasons, chief among them its failure to pin the killings on the army.

Mafume said Zanu PF was notorious for altering documents in its favour.

He cited then Justice Minister, Patrick Chinamasa's controversial decision to add two paragraphs to the 2008 Global Political Agreement that led to the formation of a loose governing coalition between the rival parties 2009-2013.

The Harare lawyer said that the main opposition rejected the findings by the commission which he said were a cover up plot by those who sanctioned and carried out the widely condemned killings.

"It was just a public relations show for Zanu PF. We reject the report in its entirety. As we have always predicted, the outcomes of the commission are clearly bound on white washing the killing of unarmed innocent civilians by soldiers and creating a climate of impunity for such killings while equating the victims to the perpetrator.

"The commission was compromised so it could not finger those who stole power and let them choke in the court of public opinion without also trying to blame the MDC.

"Justice has not been done. Victims are turning in their graves, families have been insulted and millions of tax payers' money has been wasted."

The findings of the report have also been met with uproar from some mainstream civic groups.

In a statement, Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition said on Wednesday that the outcome of the report confirmed their long-held view that the Motlanthe commission was compromised.

The NGO felt the report will further entrench hostilities between the two rival parties as well as inflict more pain among victims of the shootings.

Exiled former cabinet minister Jonathan Moyo said through twitter that the report was the worst ever published by a Commission of Inquiry since 1980.

However, Zanu PF and its apologists have maintained deafening silence over the report.

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