Violence rocks August 1 killings inquiry hearings in Bulawayo

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By Staff Reporter

BULAWAYO activists on Friday ambushed the Kgalema Montlanthe-led commission of inquiry into the death of six civilians in post-election violence, demanding instead for a probe into Gukurahundi atrocities.

The commission moved its sessions to Bulawayo after hearing testimonies from witnesses and other interested parties in Harare.

The fact-finding mission was set up by President Emmerson Mnangagwa to investigate the death of six civilians who were allegedly shot dead by soldiers during protests against the claimed manipulation of elections by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC).

“We lost our parents during Gukurahundi and nothing was done, now you want us to testify because of six people who died in Harare,” shouted one man seated at the back of the room.

Another lady unidentified added, “Today you will shoot and kill all of us here, but we will not be silenced”.

Security officials moved in quickly to try and silence the protestors, but they continued with their brief demonstration.

The 1980s disturbances in Matabeleland and Midlands which were orchestrated by the North Korean trained 5th Brigade.

A report produced by the Catholic Commission for Peace and Justice (CCJP) claimed that 20 000 civilians died.

In 1983 the then Prime Minister Robert Mugabe set up a four-member commission of inquiry led by Justice Simpliciuos Chihambakwe.

The commission produced a report which was handed over to Mugabe but was never made public.

Meanwhile, giving his testimony to the commission, MDC Alliance Bulawayo spokesperson Felix Mafa Sibanda said the commission should identify the person who gave the order for the soldiers to the shoot civilians.

“This commission should first find out who deployed the army,” said Sibanda.

He also hit out at the ZEC saying it comprised military personnel as well as members of the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO).

Another witness who took to the stand, Tawurai Kandishaya, a taxi driver from Harare, said the violence was orchestrated by MDC Alliance members.

“I have a video showing Mr Japajapa, an activist, addressing people at the command centre saying the elections were rigged. Japajapa said ZEC announced the 2013 results instead of the correct figures,” he testified.

After the Bulawayo hearings, the commission will move to Gweru on Saturday.