Zimbabwe post-poll violence inquiry to summon army, police

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HARARE – An inquiry probing the killing of six people after soldiers opened fire on post-election protesters in Zimbabwe will summon police and the army to appear before it, an official said Friday.

Kgalema Motlanthe, the former president of South Africa and the commission chairman, said the military and police would give evidence next month.

“We will be hearing from the army and the police,” Motlanthe told a news conference in the capital Harare where the killings occurred on August 1.

“We will ask all pertinent questions and expect to get pertinent answers,” he said.

Motlanthe was appointed by President Emmerson Mnangagwa to lead a seven-member team to investigate the killings.

The deaths occurred after protesters took to the streets accusing the country’s electoral commission of delaying the announcement of results for the July 30 general election.

Mngangagwa succeeded long-time ruler Robert Mugabe who was ousted in November 2017 following a brief military takeover.

This week, several witnesses, including relatives of the deceased, gave their testimony.

Elizabeth Rubinstein, sister of one of the victims, Gavin Dean Charles, called for justice.

“I find what happened to him was brutal and it… (caused) indescribable pain to my family. The perpetrators should face justice,” a sobbing Rubinstein said in her evidence to the inquiry.

She said her unemployed brother was hoping to get a job after Mugabe’s ouster.

Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa appointed the commission of inquiry to probe the deaths of six people after the country's landmark elections

Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa appointed the commission of inquiry to probe the deaths of six people after the country’s landmark elections

“He just wanted a better life. He was harmless, and to be shot twice, unarmed. The pain has been indescribable. My mum is not well, she had a stroke (and) she is not aware of his death. If we tell her it will kill her,” she said.

Some of the relatives want the government to compensate the victims’ families.

The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), the main opposition party has vowed not to take part in the inquiry calling it a “circus” and a “big sham”.

“The actual issue is supposed to be on how soldiers ended up in the streets, firing live ammunition at unarmed civilians,” MDC said in a statement on Thursday.

The commission has three months to complete its investigations and report back to the president.