Violence probe team chair Motlanthe vows unbiased investigation

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By Anna Chibamu

FORMER South African President, Kgalema Motlanthe, who chairs Zimbabwe’s Commission of Inquiry into the August 1 violence in which six civilians were shot dead by the army, has assured Zimbabweans his team shall come up with a credible report after the hearing.

He was addressing journalists soon after the commission’s swearing in by President Emmerson Mnangagwa at State House Wednesday afternoon.

Motlanthe urged locals to allow his probe team some time to do its work before passing negative comment over both its composition and impartiality.

“So far allow us to do that assignment. The members in the commission are honourable people so it gives the commission a bit of credibility,” he said.

Some Zimbabweans are anxious the appointment of the team was a cover-up attempt by Mnangagwa whose government came under fire for unleashing the army to gun down unarmed civilians.

Citizens have also questioned the inclusion of University of Zimbabwe professors Charity Manyeruke and Lovemore Madhuku who are seen as interested parties in the matter.

Manyeruke is a known Zanu PF apologist whom many say was incapable of producing an impartial report while Madhuku, leader of the National Constitutional Assembly, was a presidential candidate in the just ended election.

Madhuku has angered opposition supporters through public denials the July 30 elections were rigged by the incumbent.

In his comments, Motlanthe dismissed the assertions some of his colleagues were not suited for the job.

“We did not select ourselves, the authorities, the powers that be, the person of the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe was satisfied that these commissioners are fit and proper for this job.

“This does not worry us at all because we want to hear from the people. We will consider that as a commission,” he said.

Motlanthe also said the outcome of the investigation shall be made public, adding, “You cannot have public hearings and thereafter have a secret report. It must be a public report of course.”

Angry protests rocked Harare’s CBD August 1 when there were clear signs the MDC Alliance was headed for defeat following the July 30 elections.

The opposition supporters were also angered by the erratic announcement of the results by ZEC with fears the Zanu PF led administration was buying time to tamper with the outcome.

Other members of the probe team assembled by Mnangagwa include renowned British attorney Rodney Dixon, former Commonwealth secretary general Chief Emeka Anyouko, ex-Tanzanian military boss General Davis Mwamunyange and Vimbai Nyemba, former President of the Law Society of Zimbabwe.