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29 Aug 2018 20:10
A soldier fires at demonstrators in Harare as protests erupted over alleged fraud in the country’s election. (Zinyange Auntony/AFP)
Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa has announced a commission of inquiry to investigate the post-election violence that left at least six people dead and countless others injured.
The commission will include former South African president Kgalema Motlanthe, presidential candidate Lovemore Madhuku, former Tanzania defence chief Davis Mwamunyange, former president of the law society of Zimbabwe, Vimbai Nyemba and British human rights lawyer Rodney Dixon QC.
Several hundred MDC supporters gathered outside party headquarters in Harare on August 1, chanting and shouting that they had won the elections before the vote count had been finalised.
Initially, anti-riot police backed by water cannon trucks monitored the protesters. However, the situation escalated once members of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces began using live ammunition to disperse the crowd.
The seven member team comprising local, regional and international individuals, will look into events preceding the violence on August 1 and the “motives and strategies employed in the protests”.
The commission will also investigate the circumstances which necessitated the involvement of the military in the maintenance of law and order and whether the degree of force used was appropriate to the threat.
In a rare move towards transparency, the group has been written a blank cheque by Mnangagwa “to investigate any other matters which the Commission of Inquiry may deem appropriate and relevant to the inquiry”.
The commission is to report to the president in writing within a period of three months from the date of swearing-in of commissioners.
Mnangagwa told Zimbabwean media that the commissioners would be sworn in next week, once the president returns from his trip to China.
Kiri Rupiah is the Mail & Guardian’s online editor. Read more from Kiri Rupiah
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