Stampede at August 1 killings commission of inquiry hearing

HARARE - There was a stampede yesterday as journalists and members of the public pushed into a small conference room, the set venue for the commission of inquiry public hearing on the August 1 killings.

Individuals began to arrive as early as 9am only to endure hours of waiting outside, while the commissioners deliberated on the intended procedures for the public hearing.

While an open venue was expected for a hearing of this magnitude, only 45 people were allowed into the small conference room at a lodge in the capital.

The commission, sworn in by President Emmerson Mnangagwa in September this year, has been tasked to enquire into the circumstances that led to the violence that occurred after the July harmonised elections.

The permanent secretary of the commission Virginia Mabhiza addressed members of the press towards lunch time, assuring them they would be allowed into the conference room at 1.30 pm.

“We had advised that the hearing would start early at 11 am. Our apologies, the commissioners had numerous documents to consider before the hearing,” she said.

There was chaos when Mabhiza told the rest of the camera crews to leave the conference except for the State media

Journalists enquired from the chairperson of the commission Kgalema Motlanthe why the rest of the media outlets were not allowed to attend, while this was a public inquiry.

“ZBC journalists have been coming in here while we have been waiting outside.  With all due respect Mr Chair(person), is not this supposed to be a public hearing?” enquired one journalist.

“We would love all the sessions to be open for everyone, but as you can see, the cameras are obstructing the people who are supposed to be testifying,” said Motlante, before he allowed all the camera personnel to at least occupy the back panel.

The first two witnesses to testify during the hearing both pointed to members of Chamisa’s MDC as the perpetrators of the violence in which at least six people died, in the aftermath of this year’s elections.

Patricia Ruzawe from Goromonzi, who took part in the election processes as an observer said she witnessed the violence first hand when she arrived in Harare on August 1.

Nyasha Zenda, a Zanu PF councillor for Ward 6 in Harare also gave a testimony on how he was tipped that his personal bus which he had used during the campaign was about to be burnt by MDC youths.

Meanwhile, the Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa) issued a statement yesterday condemning the commission for barring private media from covering the hearing.

“This is disconcerting as it is an enquiry that is supposed to draw participation from the public. Particularly worrying is that trend in such conduct by institutions established by the government and public officials,” said Misa.


Comments (5)

This is madness at its highest level. Mr. Monthlante, why have you allowed yourself to stoop so low, is it money that has done this to you. Zimbabwean situation, if you do not handle it properly, you are going to to your name tainted badly. Speak to the public not partisan people, am not for ZANU OR MDC, Please go and talk to the public not people who have been nominated to you by someone to interview. Go and talk to the bereaved families first and hear what happened, not what we are hearing. Musoja we zimbabwe kuita zvinonyadzisa kudaro. SOLDIERS ARE THERE TO PROTECT MY SOVEREIGN RIGHTS AND NOT TO KILL ME MHANI.

Matingindi - 17 October 2018

I think it's sheer waste of time and money to set up this useless commission of inquiry, the truth is known that somebody commanded soldiers to kill civilians period.

Jola - 17 October 2018

We think all people should b allowed in-all journalists;even fr the private media;we know people depending with the area you are in may give biased testimonies of influenced only by their political inclinations rather than as true witnesses but nothing can not b far from the truth-the violence was instigated by Chamisa,Biti& their MDC alliance team especially in Harare where a small word fr the leadership can go in flames within no time to burn all the building of Harare & vehicles.Harare is clearly a ready dry grass for the opposition alliance's stick of matches.We were openly told by police spokesperson Charamba that protocol was followed by commissioner Matanga to invite the army into the crisis;then obviously the powers that be,who are formally tasked with granting the protocol formalities will b investigated with regard to the army shooting at the civilians;if no evidence is found then the shooting trooper will give us witness;then the inquiry commission will conclude the matter & gives us a report with recommendations.The trooper might face a penalty if found guilty or if was ordered fr the seniors(if they are career elements) should lose their jobs& face penalties,if they are political appointees will b fired by the president& face penalties;if it happens to b the president himself then we expect he either resign or face impeachment procedures;if all this fail then the people will retire him come 2023 & face prosecution in the court of law afterwards.I think if mdc alliance is found guilty the individual elements will b tried & prosecured under relevant laws & our parliamentarians should rush to make laws which punish political parties which instigate violence as the case would b

addmore gudo - 18 October 2018

opposition elements I mean would be tried & prosecuted under relevant laws

addmore gudo - 18 October 2018

job well done commisions

godfrey mugari - 25 October 2018

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