BY LORRAINE MUROMO
VICTIMS of the August 1, 2018 post-election shootings are still struggling to come to terms with the loss of their loved ones, four years on.
None of them have received any form of government support as recommended by the Kgalema Motlanthe Commission of Enquiry.
Six unarmed civilians were gunned down by soldiers in the streets of Harare, while dozens sustained gunshot wounds after the security forces fired live ammunition to disperse protesters rioting over the late release of Presidential results.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa then appointed a commission of enquiry led by former South African President Kgalema Motlanthe to investigate the shootings.
The commission recommended that the victims must be compensated, while the perpetrators must be brought to book. To date the accused soldiers have not been arrested, while the victims have not found closure.
Suspicious Ziyambi, wife to the late Ishmael Kumire narrated her heart-wrenching ordeal of failing to cope and support her family since the demise of her husband on that fateful day.
“I have not received anything as compensation and no perpetrators have been brought to book. The lawyer who was handling the case has also gone silent. I feel a lot of pain and my mind wanders. I sometimes ask myself why I lost my husband to violence. It’s been four years since the death of my husband; if only he had been alive, we would have been at a different stage in life,” Ziyambi said.
“Life is hard if you are widowed and things change for the worse. There is no support from the husband’s family and they want to grab everything left by the husband. If only I could get assistance because I have a son who was in Form 1 when Kumire was shot, and I have been struggling to support his education up to Form Four. He only sat for one O level subject, but failed. He is just sitting at home, which is unhealthy for a boy because he can be tempted into mischief. If they help us, he can stand on his own and look after his siblings.”
Alison Charles, sister to one of the shooting victims Gavin Charles said she is still trying to come to terms over how her brother was brutally killed.
“Obviously this day is very painful, and I don’t like to think about it. I wish I could erase it,” Charles said.
“We never got compensation yet so many lives were lost. It’s as if dogs died on the streets. They need to do something about compensating the families. My brother left a daughter who is 15 years old. She is doing well in school and her mother is taking care of her, but they should have compensated us so that she gets a better education.”
The United States Embassy yesterday tweeted: “How long must people wait for full implementation of the Motlanthe Commission recommendations?”
Today marks four years since security forces killed civilians for exercising their constitutional right to protest. When will Zimbabwe implement #MotlantheCommission recommendations and hold those responsible to account? #ZimLivesMatter pic.twitter.com/wvCL8p8byD
— U.S. Embassy Zimbabwe (@USEmbZim) August 1, 2022
Secretary in the Ministry of Information and Publicity, Nick Mangwana responded: “The Motlanthe Commission did not make a finding that the security forces killed civilians. That’s your own position which has no basis on facts.”
But human rights groups have demanded the arrest of the responsible soldiers.
“We still demand justice for the victims and healing for their families. Mnangagwa should ensure that his government implements electoral reforms and assures peace and security during the 2023 elections,” tweeted Protect Defenders Zimbabwe.
Heal Zimbabwe demanded compensation for the victims, accountability and arrest of the perpetrators as well as truth telling.
Crisis in Coalition Zimbabwe president Gift Mutasa said: “On August 1, 2018, the brutal military dictatorship of Zimbabwe killed innocent citizens. This was because of elections. Four years down the line we face economic, social and political implosion and citizens must vote wisely to end endless killings of innocent citizens.”
- Follow Lorraine on Twitter@RMuromo