August 1 Shootings: Govt has neither acknowledged nor apologised – says rights group; demands peace, tolerance ahead of polls  

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By Staff Reporter

The National Transitional Justice Working Group Zimbabwe (NTJWG) has demanded President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his administration respect the constitution and safeguard human rights.

In a statement remembering the victims of the August 1 2018 shootings, the rights group called for peace and tolerance in the upcoming elections.

Having identified these, among many other issues, we see a dangerous situation developing in Zimbabwe. Thus, we call upon the government and leadership of political parties to respect the constitution and work towards safeguarding the fundamental human rights of citizens. 

We recommend the setting up of a high-level inclusive multi-sectoral mediation initiative to assist ZEC in addressing the current situation and ensure all contested issues are ironed out in a way that restores the people’s confidence in the process.

The initiative must then shepherd Zimbabwe through the election into post-election reconciliation. The Zimbabwe Republic Police must take swift action against all people responsible for the ongoing violence and intimidation in the communities,” NTJWG  said. 

Added the rights group: “Political leaders from across the political divide must make a commitment, after all the issues are resolved, to accept the outcome of the elections. If they dispute the outcome, they must commit to resorting to peaceful means of resolving disputes and avoid any methods that may lead to violence. The judiciary, as with law enforcement agencies, should be impartial and refuse to be used as weapons of political parties.  

Six people were killed while dozens were left with gaping gunshot wounds in a deadly post-election violence that rocked the country in 2018.

Angry protesters tried to besiege the election command centre in Harare demanding the release of presidential election results, two days after voting.

ZEC is constitutionally allowed a maximum of five days but reports of rigging irked pro-opposition supporters.

A commission of inquiry headed by former South African President Kgalema Motlanthe found the military guilty of using unnecessary force and the opposition MDC of instigating the violence.

The perpetrators are still to be held accountable.