ED in fix over Motlanthe report

President Emmerson Mnangagwa

PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa is in a catch-22 situation over whether to implement recommendations of the commission of inquiry into the August 1 post-election violence, which urged him to engage opposition MDC leader Nelson Chamisa to move the country forward.


But going against his Zanu PF party, which has no interest of engaging in the talks seen as crucial to reviving the country’s faltering economy, is an elephant in the room.

Highly-placed sources in both government and Zanu PF told NewsDay that Mnangagwa was now in a fix after promising to implement recommendations of the commission, which was chaired by former South African President Kgalema Motlanthe, which the Zimbabwean leader set up after members of the military and police killed six civilians during the protests, according to the commission’s report.

Zimbabwe held elections on July 30 last year to replace long-time ruler Robert Mugabe, seen as crucial to reopening the country to international re-engagement.

The poll, however, exposed deep polarisation that culminated in the post-election protests.

With the economy on a downward spiral characterised by shortages of cash, fuel, frequent price increases and rising inflation, the commission and the international community urged dialogue between Mnangagwa and his main rival, Chamisa.

A source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said there were a number of sticky recommendations that Mnangagwa would find difficult to implement, chief among them
bringing to book soldiers who shot and killed the six civilians and sitting down for talks with Chamisa.

“During the December Zanu PF annual conference in Esigodini, it was made clear that the ruling party would not sit down with Chamisa for any talks because he had disrespected Vice-President Constatino Chiwenga,” the source said.

“Hardliners in the party want the President to respect that position. But remember, Mnangagwa promised to implement the Motlanthe commission recommendations and the international community will be watching.”

Part of the commission’s recommendations read: “The commission recommends the establishment of a multi-party reconciliation initiative, including youth representatives, with national and international mediation to address the root causes of the post-election violence and to identify and implement strategies for reducing tensions, promoting common understandings of political campaigning, combating criminality, and uplifting communities.”

Zanu PF secretary for legal affairs, Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana said his party was open for talks with the MDC, but would only do so if Chamisa came knocking.

“The big brother will not go to the younger brother. It’s the other way round. We have always been open. We will talk to Zimbabweans who think they have something to offer. We are open, but we will not accost them to talk,” Mangwana said.

Chamisa said he was also waiting on Mnangagwa after tabling five issues his MDC party wanted discussed, including his legitimacy as President.

“It’s a pity that my comrade and compatriot ED Mnangagwa is talking about international engagement,” Chamisa told NewsDay.

“But you can’t build a roof without a foundation. A foundation is the national engagement, the roof is international engagement. You can’t speak to the world and talk about re-engagement when you can’t re-engage in your own country and there is no national dialogue. It’s a pity and it’s actually getting things upside down. It would never work, what is required is to have a national alignment process. Let people discuss the issues affecting Zimbabwe first. Let’s close the chapter of a disputed election first and say what is the way forward under these circumstances.”

On the military, the commission said the soldiers responsible for gunning down civilians should be brought to book.

“Those particular members of the military and the police found to have been in breach of their professional duties and discipline on August 1, 2018 should be identified as soon as possible for internal investigations and appropriate sanction, which should include a hearing from the victims and their families for impact assessment and to provide the necessary compensation,” the report reads.

But sources said the Zanu PF leaders, who came into power on the back of a military coup in November 2017, would not want to disenfranchise their power base and bringing to book the military officials would send a wrong signal.

Just before the commission’s report and findings were made public, Mnangagwa promoted the commander of the National Reactional Force, Brigadier-General Anselem Nhamo Sanyatwe to Major General.

Our sister paper, the Zimbabwe Independent, last month reported that while Mnangagwa ruled out talks and a power-sharing arrangement with Chamisa’s MDC-Alliance on the basis that Zanu PF won a two-thirds majority in the July general elections, dialogue was unfolding behind-the-scenes, facilitated by prominent former Kenyan chief justice Willy Mutunga.

The paper said Mutunga arrived in the country before Christmas and met senior MDC officials, including Chamisa, and has been secretly coming to Zimbabwe for the talks since August.


  1. CJ Mutunga controversially dismissed the 2013 electoral case citing time shortage.
    He however claimed that the opposition had evidence worth pursuing- a contradiction that did not go well with the majority.
    I am yet to understand how he will mediate the two political heavyweights.
    Nonetheless, Mnangagwa and Chamisa must end this stalemate that has characterized the better part of 2018.
    Good year!

  2. Mthuthukisi Mzilankatha Kamncube

    There is a lot of hullabaloo over invisible elephants in the room when what remains clear is that the president, acting in the capacity of Head of State and Government’s promise to act on and implement the findings and recommendations of the Motlanthe Commission takes precedence over whatever they agreed at Party level. Zimbabwe is obviously bigger than ZANU-PF, and as a president E.D did not take oath of office to implement ZANU-PF concerns but the greater Zimbabwean concerns. What he should simply do is that which he took oath of office to do, uphold the Zimbabwean Consitution in its entirety, even if that means crossing the party lines…I advise

  3. As I see it, the commission of inquiry never went beyond its mandate and start to involve itself in economic issues of Zimbabwe. I am sure the commission realised that Zimbabwe is a stand alone complete government running a full and legitimate cabinet and never had a thought of interfering in maters that had nothing to do with its terms of reference. I also strongly believe that when President Mnangagwa drafted the terms of reference for the commission, he never had in mind the idea of asking for ecomic advise from the commission so the Idea of interpreting the need for dialogue as refering to some kind of gnu preparation in order to solve economic problems amounts to interpreting that recomentation out of context. The only dialogue the commission had in mind has to do with the need to encourage each other to encourage his followers to be peacefull citizens. This may be so in connection with the commission’s observation that the utterences of the opposition leaders had the potential to incite violence.

  4. ED is the Boss Chete…he has final say…not Party or wannabes… Not deputies or delinquents…so we wait on our Presidents decision.

  5. Comment…But where really lies our national intellectual pride if we perpetually attract global attention for our protracted intellectual dismal failures? On mild intellectual challenges.

  6. Comment…But where really lies our national intellectual pride if we perpetually attract global attention for our protracted intellectual dismal failures? On mild intellectual challenges.

  7. The Commission was a futile attempt at PR for international relations, as what a lot have always been saying what should have transpired was a murder docket. Seen that the government could not investigate itself hope was pinned on the Commission doing an impartial job with some strong recommendations to put the country on the road to recovery neither was achieved, thus the whole excercise was a waste of the tax-payer’s monies. ED is not under pressure at all as he knew from the start that the whole stance was just a stage-managed gimmick to woodwink the international community.

  8. For interest’s sake, did the security bosses and police chiefs who gave evidence in the Motlanthe commission do so under oath. And if so what does the law say where anyone gives FALSE EVIDENCE/INFORMATION under Oath?

  9. This is just seeing a storm in a teacup. First, sceptics doubted that Pres ED would appoint a commission to investigate the violence. When he did, they besmirched the integrity of the Commission and doubted its ability & impartiality. When ED pledged to make public the Commission’s findings, same sceptics blew air, accusing him of dishonesty. Now that the report was made public, they raise all sorts of false insinuations. Pres ED publicly promised to act on the report. He is going to act on the various recommendations, as he sees fit as the Head of State. Period. All else is peripheral.

    1. Do you think this clever by half so-called president of yours will bring to book soldiers who acted on his orders? To the wise and intelligent, the Mohlanthe Commssion report recommendations indeed put Mnangagwa and his government in a real fix. Just a casual look at one of them which says ” The deployment of the military by the president was constitutional…” is a polite or diplomatic way of implicating Mnangagwa.

  10. We wait….but NOT with bated breath! The plane called Zimbabwe is running low on fuel, it has been taxing on the runway to success for a helluva long time and might never take off!!

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