THE speed with which the Kgalema Motlanthle commission of inquiry into the August 1 fatal shooting of six civilians wound up its probe on Tuesday, compiled its executive summary and presented it to President Emmerson Mnangagwa two days later, raises a lot of eyebrows and casts aspersions over the credibility of its findings.
This is so considering that the process was abruptly ended and a summary of the report submitted to Mnangagwa shortly after some witnesses had stood down from the witness stand while some key witnesses, including victims of the shootings were still queueing to give evidence.
The rush has raised a lot of questions than answers.
For instance, why did the commission decide to rush the process when it still had until mid-month to wrap up its findings? Why were some of the witnesses, particularly shooting victims nursing gunshot injuries locked out of the hearings? Why did the commission cherry pick political leaders for interrogation? After grilling opposition leaders Nelson Chamisa and Tendai Biti, it was only logical for Mnangagwa and Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga whose names kept popping up in the evidence presented by several witnesses to be interrogated as well.
Worse still, why were the killer soldiers not subpoenaed to appear before the commission?
This brings to concern the selection criteria of witnesses employed by the commission, and questions its commitment towards the attainment of justice in light of the dastardly incident. If Mnangagwa’s motive in setting up the commission was to administer healing to the nation, victims and their families, surely there was no need to rush the process and leave out certain elements of the fact-finding mission.
Despite our misgivings, we still expect the commission’s findings to be a true reflection of what happened on that fateful day — anything short of that will be considered a travesty of justice. We believe, as Mnangagwa has said oftentimes since he came into office, that he will not shelve the report , but make it public immediately for the benefit of all.
We also strongly believe the commission’s findings, despite its envisaged shortcomings, will somehow help law enforcement agents to expeditiously institute criminal proceedings against those implicated in the report and bring that sad chapter of our country’s dirty politics to its logical conclusion. The nation needs to urgently move out of the political mode and heal ahead of the next cycle of elections due in 2023.