Amnesty International doubts Zim’s Commission of Inquiry

By Staff Reporter

Amnesty International has doubted the impartiality of Zimbabwe’s Commission of Inquiry into the country’s post-election killings.

After the disputed July 31 election, six people from among protesters of incumbent President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s victory were shot dead by soldiers.

And after his inauguration, Munangagwa immediately appointed a commission of inquiry and swore-in members on Wednesday this week.

The global human rights watchdog’s Deputy Director for Southern Africa, Muleya Mwananyanda asked the government to bolster the mandate of the Commission.

“Zimbabweans deserve to know what happened in the bloody aftermath of the elections, including who shot six people dead, who gave the command to shoot and who was responsible for the deployment of soldiers. But as the Commission of Inquiry’s mandate stands right now, they may never know,” Mwananyanda said.

“The authorities must show that this Commission is not a fig leaf intended to cover the human rights violations and abuses committed in the aftermath of the election. The first step is to broaden the Commission’s mandate to investigate violations and abuses committed by all parties involved.”

Amnesty International further expressed concern about the independence and impartiality of the Commission.

The organisation further wondered why Mnangagwa appointed Lovemore Madhuku, an outright ruling ZANU-PF supporter as part of the Commissioners.

“The repressive political climate in Zimbabwe and the government’s post-electoral purging of opponents means that many witnesses may be too frightened to testify,” said Mwananyanda.

“The Commission must ensure it adheres to international standards for thorough, impartial and effective investigations, and make certain that there are proper safeguards to protect those testifying.”

At least six people were killed in violence following Zimbabwe’s 30 July election and dozens more arbitrarily arrested in a government crackdown on supporters of the opposition, Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), which disputed official election results.

The seven member Commission includes South Africa’s former president Kgalema Motlanthe,

British lawyer Rodney Dixon, former Commonwealth secretary general Chief Emeka Anyaoku, and Tanzania’s former chief of defence forces General Davis Mwamunyange.

Others are University of Zimbabwe Law Faculty Professor and presidential candidate in the July election, Lovemore Madhuku, University of Zimbabwe Political Science Faculty Professor Charity Manyeruke, and former president of the Zimbabwe Law Society, Vimbai Nyemba.