By Mary Taruvinga, Senior Reporter
ON this day four years ago, security forces fired on Harare residents in the central business district (CBD) following post-election protests after delays by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) in announcing presidential poll results.
Soldiers and anti-riot police were implicated in the scandal which also resulted in serious injuries to dozens more.
The six victims were identified as Challenge Tauro (20) Jealous Chikandira (21) Brian Zhuwawo (26) Ishmael Kumire (41) Gavin-Dean Charles (45) Sylvia Maphosa (53).
Following public outcry and demands for justice from the international community, President Emmerson Mnangagwa appointed a commission to investigate the issue, chaired by former South African President Kgalema Motlanthe; the Kgalema Motlanthe Commission of Inquiry.
Nothing has been done to the perpetrators despite the commission concluding that security officers were responsible.
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The United States Embassy in Zimbabwe said: “Today marks four years since security forces killed civilians for exercising their constitutional right to protest. When will Zimbabwe implement Motlanthe Commission recommendations and hold those responsible to account.”
Opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) said the commission was a waste of resources.
“Today, we join the families of the citizens who lost their loved ones on the 1st of August 2018 after the regime in Harare gave an order to the army to fire live bullets at innocent citizens. The regime’s brutal behaviour left six people dead, and dozens injured.
“Evaluation The implementation scorecard is zero out of the six recommendations by the Motlanthe Commission of Inquiry Report, none has been implemented four years later. It was therefore all much ado about nothing,” said CCC.
“Four years later, no one has been held account, no one has been summoned, investigated, arrested or made to answer for the grisly murders. Mr. Mnangagwa has simply ignored all the recommendations of the Motlanthe Commission,” further reads the statement.
Government spokesperson Nick Mangwana disputed claims that the commission had, at any point, blamed the State despite the body having proposed compensation for families of those killed.
“The Motlanthe Commission did not make a finding that the security forces killed civilians. That is your own position which has no basis in facts,” Mangwana said in response to the US embassy.
Images of soldiers shooting at fleeing, unarmed civilians shook the world. The situation got more attention when one of the soldiers was said to have been shooting at a 45-degree angle in spite of pictorial and video evidence.
Zimbabwe Destiny Divine (ZDD), a non-governmental organisation (NGO) said the commission was only meant to silence a restive public.
“It boggles the mind to imagine that it is the government appointed Motlanthe Commission that concluded and recommended that the soldiers who shot at unarmed innocent civilians should be arrested but Alas!” said ZDD.
“Questions abound as to whether this was not a smoke screen to pacify voices of reason, cry our beloved country here the constitution remains a piece of paper with little or no significance at all in terms of protecting citizens’ rights.”