BY BLESSED MHLANGA
VICTIMS of August 1, 2018 shootings have shot down government claims that it had compensated them as recommended by the Kgalema Motlanthe Commission of Enquiry.
Six people were fatally shot while dozens others sustained gunshot wounds after soldiers indiscriminately fired live ammunition to disperse protestors from central Harare on August 1 2018 following delays in announcement of the presidential results.
After the shootings, President Emmerson Mnangagwa commissioned a team led by former South African President Kgalema Motlanthe to investigate the matter. The commission confirmed that, indeed, soldiers had fired live ammunition on unarmed civilians and recommended that the victims be compensated while the perpetrators are brought to book, but two years down the line none of the victims has been compensated.
Speaking at a National Transitional Justice Working Group programme to commemorate the shootings on Friday, Melody Manyeruke said his deaf and dumb brother Andy, a vendor who was shot in the chest by soldiers, was yet to receive the promised compensation or an apology from government.
“For our family, it’s not the truth because government has never made any effort to contact us or communicate with us. They know Andy’s case, but they have never done anything. By God’s grace, Andy is still able to continue with his vending work except that the lockdown issue has affected him,” he said.
Manyeruke said the 46-year-old Andy was hopeful that one day justice would prevail.
“Nobody can go through that ordeal of being shot and almost die and you know you are innocent. Yet you live through (it) and those responsible don’t acknowledge that what they did is wrong. It needs a lot of grace from God for someone to become normal after such a situation,” he said.
“Before the issue of compensation, at least an acknowledgement of the fact that he was wronged from the State is something that would be very positive for him and also for us as a family, rather than a situation where they just keep quiet as if nothing happened. Then on the issue of compensation, he is somebody who is living with disability, he needs some kind of assistance.”
ZimRights director Dzikamai Bere blasted government for “lying” that it was helping the victims.
“Mr Manyeruke is a representative of citizens out there who have been hurt and continue to get hurt by the State. The fact that a government official finds it more important to come to a journalist and lie about compensation for victims and they have made no attempt to get in touch with the families tells you there is no humanity in that policy,” he said.
Bere called on Mnangagwa to take the nation out of protracted political disputes.
“Why I say that there is no humanity is because issues of transitional justice are built by leadership with compassion. It means they say we understand and appreciate that we have hurt each other in the past and the State is the main actor in contributing to that pain, we want to correct this and the people who are at the centre are those who have been hurt the most,” he said.