PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has succumbed to pressure from local and international human rights groups to rein in killer soldiers, and yesterday appointed a 10-member inter-ministerial taskforce to further investigate the military’s excesses in line with recommendations by the Kgalema Motlanthe-led commission of inquiry into the August 1, 2018 fatal shootings.
BY XOLISANI NCUBE
This comes as South Africa’s opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane has threatened to jet into Zimbabwe soon to compile a human rights abuse dossier against Mnangagwa and hand it over to the International Criminal Court in the Hague.
The Motlanthe Commission recommended that government investigates the individuals linked to the fatal shooting of six unarmed civilians in the August 1 post-election violence.
The commission also recommended that the country engages in a national dialogue to speed healing.
The setting up of the taskforce comes on the backdrop of an ongoing brutal military crackdown, which has left 12 civilians dead, with over 70 others nursing gunshot injuries following a recent violent mass protest.
In a statement yesterday, the Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services ministry said: “In this regard, President Emmerson Mnangagwa has established an inter-ministerial taskforce to address issues arising from the reports by the 2018 harmonised election observer missions as well as the findings of the Motlanthe Commission.”
The taskforce will be chaired by Justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi, who will be deputised by his Foreign Affairs counterpart Sibusiso Moyo.
Other members of the taskforce will be ministers Monica Mutsvangwa (Information), Mthuli Ncube (Finance), Cain Mathema (Home Affairs), Nqobizitha Mangaliso Ndlovu (Industry and Commerce) and Owen Ncube (State Security), as well as Attorney-General Prince Machaya, a Zimbabwe Law Society representative (not named) and a Zimbabwe Election Commission representative.
Various election observer groups last year produced damming reports on the July 30, 2018 polls, including military and traditional leaders’ interference in electoral processes.
Mnangagwa is under pressure from local and international human rights groups to rein in his soldiers and bring those implicated in the fatal shootings to account.
The Zanu PF leader has, of late, been pressured to engage the opposition to resolve the current economic crisis before he could receive financial bailout from international financiers.
Soon after landing from his recent week-long Eurasia tour, Mnangagwa pledged to “deal” with rogue soldiers causing unrest in the country.
Maimane yesterday said efforts to pressure South African President and Sadc chair Cyril Ramaphosa to intervene in the Zimbabwean crisis had not yielded results, hence the decision to refer Mnangagwa’s gross human rights abuses to the ICC and the UN.
“President Ramaphosa is mistaken to focus solely on the economic situation in Zimbabwe, while turning a blind eye to the dictator-like military clampdown on citizens, which has, to date, claimed the lives of at least 12 people,” he said.
“Despite concerted pressure from the DA, President Ramaphosa and his government have failed to show leadership and intervene in what has now become a humanitarian crisis. It is vital that stability is restored in Zimbabwe and in the Southern African Development Community region.”
The MDC last week compiled and submitted a dossier to the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission detailing gross human rights violations by the security forces during the crackdown.