ZLHR testifies before Motlanthe led commission of inquiry probing post-election violence

By Staff Reporter

ZIMBABWE Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) on Thursday 22 November 2018 appeared before the Commission of Inquiry probing post-election
violence, which broke out on 1 August 2018 in Harare.

ZLHR was represented by Mordecai Mahlangu, the board chairperson and
Bellinda Chinowawa, a programmes manager for access to justice, who
presented submissions before the Commission of Inquiry led by former
South African President Kgalema Motlanthe.

In their submissions contained in an 18-page document, ZLHR said the
killing of unarmed civilians by members of Zimbabwe Defence Forces
(ZDF) was arbitrary and constitutes a serious violation of the
fundamental human right to life in terms of national, regional and
international law.

The human rights organisation said the history of violence by members
of the Zimbabwe National Army against unarmed civilians is well
documented as several judgments have been entered against the Minister
of Defence, who has been held to be vicariously liable for human
rights violations perpetrated in the form of assaults, and other
inhumane treatment of people.

ZLHR submitted that the failure by members of Zimbabwe Republic Police
to provide security to the citizens who were protesting is a negation
of their constitutional obligation to protect citizens from harm.

ZLHR expressed concern that the fact that some of the post-mortem
reports distorted the real cause of death of people raises suspicion
of foul play and a bid to conceal and absolve those responsible for
the shooting from being held accountable.

As part of recommendations, ZLHR told the Commission of Inquiry that
there is need for wholesale reforms targeting the security sector
particularly the police and the ZDF and that government must ratify
and domesticate all outstanding key human rights instruments such as
the United Nations Convention Against Torture, United Nations
Convention Against Enforced Disappearances, The African Union –
Charter on Democracy and Elections. ZLHR said government must
implement holistic electoral reforms following consultations with
stakeholders ahead of the 2023 elections to improve the level of
confidence of all stakeholders in the Zimbabwe Election Commission.

The seven-member Commission of Inquiry was appointed by President
Emmerson Mnangagwa in August to look into the disturbances that led to
the killing of six Zimbabweans.Other members of the commission are former Secretary General of the Commonwealth Chief Emeka Anyaoku,General Davies Mwamunyange a former Chief of Defence of the Tanzania armed forces,Rodney Dixon a leading lawyer from the United Kingdom,Professor Lovemore Madhuku a leading constitutional lawyer and lecturer from the University of Zimbabwe,Professor Charity Manyeruke a political science lecturer and dean of the faculty of social sciences at the University of Zimbabwe and Vimbai Nyemba,a past president of the Law Society of Zimbabwe.