ED probe faces court challenge

HARARE - A woman who lost her brother when members of the army opened fire, killing at least six people during a violent demo in Harare last month has approached the High Court seeking to nullify the subsequent Commission of Inquiry set up by President Emmerson Mnangagwa to investigate the disturbances.

The woman, Alison Charles, wants the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) or the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) to appoint people to investigate the disturbances.

Alternatively, she says, one of the two organisations should be given powers to formulate the terms of reference for Mnangagwa’s commission, and that some of the prominent people on the probe — specifically Lovemore Madhuku and Charity Manyeruke — be removed from the commission altogether.

“I respectfully contend that the decision by the first respondent (Mnangagwa) to appoint a Commission of Inquiry is reviewable on the basis that it is grossly unreasonable on at least two separate and or interlinking bases,” she said in her application.

She also said in terms of the law, the deployment of the army was only authorised by the president, adding that the August 1, 2018 deployment had not been necessary.

“On the 1st of August 2018, my brother … Gavin Dean Charles, also referred to as ‘Gavin’, was shot and killed by members of the Defence Forces of Zimbabwe in Harare. The cause of death indicated on the death certificate as ‘gunshot injuries, hypovolemic shock’.

“On August 1, 2018, Gavin left home at about 08:00 hours in the morning. I did not know that would be the last time I would ever see him alive again. As siblings, we were very close. We literally shared our lives together.

“The deployment of members of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces under the command of the first respondent and sixth respondent (Commander Defence Forces, Valerio Sibanda) in unclear circumstances has led to the loss of life of Gavin, my beloved brother,” Charles said further in her court papers.

She is also seeking the terms of reference of ED’s inquiry to be changed and to also focus on who deployed the military on the streets then, as well as the names of the soldiers who killed her brother.

Charles also accused members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police of refusing to give her family the requisite post-mortem report, notwithstanding their application.

This comes after Mnangagwa appointed a Commission of Inquiry last month to probe the August 1 deaths which sullied the relatively peaceful July 30 national elections.

ED’s seven-member commission will be led by former South African president Kgalema Motlanthe.

Madhuku, Manyeruke, Law Society of Zimbabwe (LSZ) ex-president Vimbai Nyemba, Rodney Dixon of the United Kingdom, former Tanzanian chief of the defence forces General Davis Mwamunyange and ex-Commonwealth secretary-general Chief Emeka Anyaoku of Nigeria are the other members of the probe.

The August 1 killings came after Mnangagwa had been credited with presiding over the most peaceful election process in post-independent Zimbabwe — where for the first time the opposition was able to campaign freely in rural areas which are traditionally strongholds of the ruling Zanu PF.

Following the deaths, the opposition also asserted that suspected security agents had targeted senior MDC Alliance officials and polling agents in a violent programme following the insistence by opposition leader Nelson Chamisa that he had won the July 30 presidential election.

All this was seen by observers as harming Mnangagwa’s quest to mend years of Zimbabwe’s political and economic isolation by Western governments.

Prior to this, analysts had said the 76-year-old Zanu PF leader had done enough to project himself and his administration as being significantly different from ousted former leader Robert Mugabe — who was accused of despotism and running Zimbabwe into the ground.



Comments (4)

We have had so many commissions of enquiry since 1980 but the economy slid continuously because they were neither genuine nor taken seriously resulting in confidence and legitimacy crisis. I hope this court challenge will help change the trajectory.

ADF - 18 September 2018

She has a strong case to make.

sipendu - 19 September 2018

shame on her

ndini - 19 September 2018

It is very clear that this woman is being fronted by mbiti and chanyiswa because they want the terms of reference to ignore the root cause that ended in the shooting. Why should one ignore such a clear fact. Cholera can not be stopped if we dont deal with the root cause of the pandemic. So it is also prudent that the shooting incident be investigated from that point to establish what really happened that caused the soldiers to be called in. I dont think it is possible for someone to just deploy soldiers where everything is normal. The truth is that the shooting occured after the destruction of properties. So the first question should be who incited people to carryout such a destructive demo, and for what reason going on up to why soldiers were brought in and what happened that warranted opening fire to unarmed civilians? This woman is the aggrieved so where is she getting the powers to determine who should do what and the terms of reference? Is she the one who brought the issue of a Commission? I smell something here.

shunguhadziurayi - 19 September 2018

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