August 1 shootings hearing abandoned in Byo

RIOT police armed with assault rifles and water cannons had to be called in yesterday when violence broke out at Rainbow Hotel in Bulawayo during hearings conducted by the commission of inquiry investigating the post-election shootings that occurred in Harare on August 1.

BY SHARON SIBINDI/NQOBANI NDLOVU

Kgalema Motlanthe

Former South African President Kgalema Motlanthe, who chairs the commission of inquiry into the August 1 shooting by the military, and his team were forced to leave the venue through the back door as tempers flared, forcing police officers at the meeting to call for reinforcements.

Several people were arrested following the skirmishes during which chairs were thrown at the commissioners.

This was after one of a witness, Taurai Kundishaya, had apportioned blame for the killings on the opposition MDC Alliance.

Kundishaya, who claimed to have been a taxi driver in Harare, but resides in Bulawayo and witnessed the August 1 shootings, was adamant that the MDC Alliance was responsible for the violence.

“I was at the Rainbow Towers on the day and I heard people singing that (MDC Alliance leader Nelson) Chamisa was their president and had won the elections. I saw about 50 people approaching the (Zimbabwe Electoral Commission) command centre, armed with stones. I knew something could happen because if MDC youths had stones, the situation would have gone bad,” he said.

Kundishaya was booed off and threatened with assault, resulting in a near 30-minute stoppage of proceedings.

Some people in attendance questioned why the commission was investigating Harare killings in Bulawayo, arguing this was an attention-seeking stunt by President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s regime.

They said the inquiry was a waste of time since soldiers were caught on camera spraying bullets on fleeing civilians.

Some activists questioned why government was keen to investigate the August 1 killings during which about seven people were killed, but had not done so with the 1980s Gukurahundi mass killings in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces during which thousands of mainly Ndebele-speaking people were murdered.

The activists demanded the release of the Chihambakwe Commission of Inquiry report that contained findings of the Gukurahundi atrocities that left some 20 000 civilians’ dead.

Mnangagwa appointed a seven-member commission chaired by Motlanthe to investigate circumstances leading to the shooting of civilians by the army on August 1 in Harare following the disputed July 30 harmonised elections.

The commission has so far held hearings in Harare. It was the first time that the commission was in Bulawayo, but participants at yesterday’s hearings were not amused and accused the government of wasting State resources by investigating Harare killings in the city.

Motlanthe, however, justified the visit to Bulawayo, saying: “The commission, in its wisdom, decided to come to Bulawayo because there is a possibility that some people in Matabeleland have been in Harare or had relatives who were injured or killed on the day and would, therefore, want to hear the circumstances of what happened, or you have suggestions and recommendations as to how law enforcement agents must handle such situations.”

12 Comments

  1. why did they skip Chegutu, Kadoma, Kwekwe, Gweruu? Is there no chance that some people form those twons could have been in Harare or had relatives in Harare on the day in question? This political grandstanding. The commission is being used by Lacoste to score cheap political scores. They should have been advised of the Gukurahundi sores before they went to investigate Harare incidents in Matland.

  2. Comment………as

  3. Comment…The shootings occured in Harare and the hearings should be restricted to Harare. Waste of time and resources to go to Byo and Gweru.

  4. Whilst this commission has no business in that part of the country it is equally unreasonable for the hooligans masquerading as a pressure group to do what they did either individually or as combined gangs this is totally unacceptable and it paints a bad picture in the reasoning capability of a few who now tarnish the image of the entire region.

  5. Comment…varume masoja haana kungoita semombe dzakapaza mudanga dzikanodyamumunda ndiyani akavatuma ndipo panofana kutangira nyaya ipapa

  6. Comment…Nhai Gamba, zvakaipei kutsvagurudza zvose kubvira zvakakonzera violence that destroyed property kusvikira pakufa kwevanhu? Why do u need zcemasoja chete uchisiya zveprior violence? A u in support of August 1 violence?

  7. Then the commission should go to every city/township in Zimbabwe ha ha ha.

  8. Ngatiregerei kuita kunge vanhu vasingafungi. Ndiyani asingazivi kuti vanhu vakapfurwa nenasoja eZimbabwe vakavari munzimbo yakangaine vanhu vairatidzira kutsutsumwa kwavo about the elections. We all know about tha. Nyaya iripo yakonzera kuti President va appoint commission vakaiviga nezwi rekuti post election violence. President vaifanira kubana pachena kuti ndine mhuri yangu yakauriyawa nemasoja edu, ndinoda kuziva kuti chiiyi chakaitika kuti masoja edu apinde mustreet and fire live bullets to a fleeing and un armed public. We have always had election violence in all our living memory even people being killed but not in the manner it happened this time. If the president wants to come out clean over this matter, he must re phrase the mandate of this commission, otherwise it is not going to make sense. Kunyange dai iri MDC or whoever could have caused the violence, it does not justify the actions of the army and constitutionally the, world over, the army was at fault. My last point that I would to know from the Commision chair is that, Mr. Mohlante, are you going to do your inquiry with the army as well because it is the army that killed un armed civilians?

  9. Masoja basa ravo mukavadana havaridzi pfut mudenga thy shoot to th target,zvinorwadza chete kt vamwe vakafa bt zvaizongopedzisira zvadsro fut naivo vairatidzira nyika haifaniri kut vanhu vangoita zvavanoda,yu hv lent a lesson kushandiswa nomunhu iye akagarq kumba kwake munofira mahara.

  10. WE SAW WHAT HAPPENED ON TELEVISION AND SOCIAL AND ACCOUNTS OF THOSE CLOSEST TO THE SHOOTING,WHY GO ALL OVER THE PLACE LIKE HEADLESS CHICKENS.THE COMMISSION NEEDS TO JUST SAY THE ARMY IS TO BLAME ESPECIALLY COMMANDER IN CHIEF AND HE INTURN WILL NAME THE GUY WHO WAS LEADING THE PACK ON FATEFUL DAY.ITS KNOWN WHO DID WHAT.ITS DISGUSTING FOR INDIVIDUALS OF THE CALIBRE OF MOHLANTE,ANYOUKA AND OTHERS AS FOR THE LOCALS WE KNOW THEY CAN DO ANYTHING FOR TINY PIECES OF SILVER AND GOLD.COMMISSIONERS ARE ACTING LIKE MERCERNARIES AM WORRIED HAVE TARNISHED THEIR IMAGES.PEOPLE HAVE BEEN PLANTED AND ARE VERY VOCAL ESPECIALLY WHEN IT CONCERND THE OPPOSITION MDC-A SO THE OUTCOME WILL BE JUMBLED NONSENSE CAUSE PEOPLE WHO COMMISSIONED THE COMMISSION ARE CRAFTY OUT IS PREDETERMINED.PLSE STOP WASTING TAXPAYERS MONEY MY 2%PER DOLLAR.THE OPPOSITION WILL BE BLAMED THE ARMY WILL GET A PET ON THE BACK END OF STORY.

  11. Haha this is laughable.. even respectable lawyers like Madhuku wasting tax payers money investigating Harare killings in Bulawayo…Why do we always make fools out of ourselves as Africans..We always act stupid for the world to see…That Mohlante guy is not good for Zimbabweans ..He is just like Mbeki….Useless ZanuPF apologist

  12. How much have been spend in these inquiries? And who is funding this? What does the commission seek to achieve? All we need to know is the punishment the shooters got, and all who summoned the shooting.

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