Lawyers dispute Sibanda's testimony

HARARE - The Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) rarely admits to wrongdoing, officials from the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) told a Commission of Inquiry probing the August 1 post-election violence that claimed six lives.

The commission yesterday heard testimonies from journalist Maynard Manyowa, an ‘‘A’’ Level student Simeon Chipukaso who was shot in the leg during the army shootings, Attorney-General Prince Machaya and the ZHLR’s senior lawyer Modecai Mahlangu.

In a report tabled before the Kgalema Motlante-led commission, the ZHLR hammered the commander of the ZDF Phillip Valerio Sibanda’s testimony, saying it was clear that the army was in the habit of shirking responsibility.

“We have not yet had a situation where the army have accepted wrongdoing; it is a culture that has developed in so many years,” he said.

Adding that Sibanda’s account “did not make sense for a man of his position.”

When he appeared before the commission, the army general vowed that none of the soldiers shot any civilian on August 1.

Yesterday, Mahlangu said it was pointless for government to set up a commission for the criminal acts that occurred on August 1, saying the perpetrators should have appropriately appeared before criminal courts.

He said the seven-member commission must be careful not to be used to whitewash or conceal the brutality that occurred on the fateful day

Manyowa gave a witness report on the occurrences of August 1, stating that he has footage he filmed from behind the soldiers.

The journalist said the soldiers he came across were using hand whips to beat up civilians.

Chipukaso gave a harrowing account of how he got shot while in a crowd together with his mother along Harare Street.

He told the commission that when they had embarked on a kombi back home, two armed soldiers suddenly appeared and fired some warning shots, ordering commuters to disembark and walk home.

Chipukaso said he suddenly felt some pain in his leg while running and was only assisted by good samaritans that ferried him and his mother to Mbare Police Station to make a report before proceeding to Harare Central Hospital, were he was treated and advised to return for review next February.

The Motlante commission, which was appointed in September, is expected to complete its task next month. In an interview with journalists after the session, the commission spokesperson John Masuku said hearings will resume next Monday, where MDC leader Nelson Chamisa and his party’s deputy national chairperson are expected to appear.

Comments (4)

The sad news is that this commission may end up without resolving the real issues of having innocent people loose their lives un neccessarily. Am embarassed by Pure Lies from very important people we thought were of integrity.

gonzo - 23 November 2018

The ZLHR has no input to the 1st Aug inquiry . They only told the commission their suppositions . The commission needs witnesses and not lawyers . Daily news , you try to give details of nothing from ZLHR and not the details from real witnesses . Tell the world the details from eye witnessess who are Manyowa and Chipukaso . These and the sort of people we want to hear from and not the actors who want to divert the commission from the truth .Please do not conclude that the army shot civilians . We want evidence that points towards the actual people who shot the civilians . The evidence will tell and not what we wish to be . Real witnesses will tell whether its the army or some other people . Remember arrests are coming after the commission . The same ZLHR will be defending the accused . ZLHR wants the issues to go on and on in the courts so that they have work to do . That is why they did not support the idea of the commission .

Hayibo - 24 November 2018

Imbeciles like Hayibo are the reason why Zimbabwe is in such a horrible situation.Just like Valerio Sibanda ,whom i used to respect,they defend any wrongdoing done by zanu pf.People were shot in broad day light and vides are there for anyone to see,but you hear an idiot like Hayibo saying we want more evidence.My foot! These are some of the goons that are paid to defend any wrongdoing by any means possible.Zvino ungati uri munhu?Chituta chikave nani.Go and hang Hayibo.

janana wa Bikaz madhogodhogo - 24 November 2018

hybo shame on you which evidence that is more evident than a soilders who was kneeling on 180degrees shooting people at their back in broad day light don't being brainwashed even if you are a zanu some of the things can not be defended man don't be like Valerio who is fighting for a meal ukuwaneiwo iwe nekutaura zvinonyangadza kudaro I wish u could halve heard Jim Kunaka you will realise one day it's you after they used you they dump you and noone will be listening to you when you try to talk their bad habits one day is one day

Innocent - 24 November 2018

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