ZCTU demands compensation for August 1 killings; says Mnangagwa responsible

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By Alois Vinga

PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa is responsible for the killing of protestors after post-election violence rocked Harare in August and government must pay compensation to the victims, the country’s main labour union has said.

The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) said this in its submissions to the Commission of Inquiry into the post-election violence which was established by Mnangagwa following widespread local and international condemnation of the killings.

Former South Africa president Kgalema Motlanthe leads the inquiry commission which also includes local experts and other international luminaries such as former commonwealth secretary general Chief Emeka Anyaoku.

The committee heard testimonies in Harare last week and will now move to other parts of the country as it continues its probe in the violence which left seven people dead and several others injured.

The fatalities occurred after the military swooped onto the streets of Harare shooting at opposition activists protesting against the outcome of the bitterly contested elections.

According to the ZCTU however, as commander-in-chief of the military, President Mnangagwa is responsible for the killings and gun assault of the organisation’s Harare offices.

“The ZCTU submits that President Dambudzo Mnangagwa is vicariously liable for the attack of the ZCTU offices and its employees and all those injured or killed because, constitutionally, he is responsible for the deployment of the army.

“If the army acted without his knowledge, he must be charged with serious negligence of duty,” reads the submissions in part,” the union said in its submissions, citing Section 113 of the Constitution which it said Mnangagwa such powers.

The ZCTU urged the Motlanthe commission to instruct government to pay “adequate compensation to all victims of the 1st of August 2018” and bring to justice all those involved in the killings.

Last week, the commission inspected some of the sites in Harare which were worst affected by the violence including the district offices of the ruling Zanu PF party and the labour union wants its own offices inspected as well.

In its submissions, ZCTU said soldiers branding AK 47 rifles fired gunshots at its building, hitting and shattering windows of 3rd floor offices with the bullets barely missing the head of the organisation’s legal officer who was identified as Zakeyo Mtimtema.

“The other two (officials in the office) were left traumatized,” the labour federation said.

“The ZCTU was forced to close business from the 1st of August to the 3rd of August 2018. We filed a report to the Zimbabwe republic Police (ZRP) and the matter was recorded as IR NO. 080328.”

The opposition has since dismissed the Motlanthe Commission as a cover-up, citing the presence of its panel of pro-Zanu PF commissioners such as University of Zimbabwe lecturer Charity Manyeruke.