Rights groups mull suit over failure to compensate Aug 1 army shooting victims

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By Thandiwe Garusa

THE Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum has vowed to sue government for failure to pay compensation to victims of last year’s August 1 killings by the army in Harare.

This follows recommendations by a government appointed Commission of Inquiry into the post 2018 election disturbances in which the Emmerson Mnangagwa regime used deadly force on civilians who took to the streets to protest alleged poll theft by authorities.

Six people, among them bystanders, were gunned down by the army while dozens more were left nursing gaping bullet wounds.

Government is yet to follow through on the recommendations by the Kgalema Motlanthe led Commission to pay compensation to the victims.

Speaking to in an interview, Dzikamai Bere programmes coordinator for Human Rights NGO Forum, said government should take responsibility and pay compensation to victims.

“…Government is not complying with the Motlanthe Commission recommendations,” Bere said.

“We are actually suing the government on a number of cases to make sure that it pays compensation to the victims.”

He added, “There are a number of measures that can be taken. We are the biggest human rights coalition in the country.

“We are 20 organisations. So, we are not only documenting these reports. We are also assisting other human rights coalitions.”

Bere denied government claims some of its actions, among them calling for law reforms, were meant to please Western powers, which have rendered material and financial support towards the realisation of rights in Zimbabwe.

“…We are not doing anyone a favour,” he said.

“We recommend law reform which must not be piecemeal or tokenism. It must be wholesome; it must be substantive.

“When a law has been adequately reformed, you don’t need a lobby group in the United States to prove that the law has been reformed. It’s the people on the ground who will testify that there has been reforms.”