CRISIS in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiCZ), a grouping of more than 80 civil society organisations, has written to Justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi (pictured) demanding the implementation of the 2018 Motlanthe Commission of Inquiry recommendations, following the killing of six civilians by security forces on 1 August that year.
The commission was instituted in August 2018 to inquire into circumstances that led to post-election violence, which was triggered by a delay in the release of the general-election results.
An estimated 35 people were injured after the army was deployed to quell protests. The victims who lost their lives were identified as Challenge Tauro (20), Jealous Chikandira (21), Brian Zhuwawo (26), Ishmael Kumire (41, Gavin Dean Charles (45) and Sylvia Maphosa (53).
The commission recommended that government sets up a special committee to compensation for losses and damages caused; including provision of support and school fees for the children of the victims.
The government has however not compensated the victims’ families. “On 28 June 2020, the Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Permanent Secretary, Virginia Mabhiza issued a statement in which she alleged that government had fully complied with recommendations made by the Motlanthe Commission of Inquiry.
“She also stated that some of the victims’ families had not approached the Department of Social Welfare for assistance. This was despite the fact that the recommendations from the Motlanthe Commission of Inquiry never alluded to the need for the victims’ family members to approach the Department of Social Welfare; neither did the government request the victims to approach the Department of Social Welfare.
“The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) has since sued the Government of Zimbabwe on behalf of the victims for failing to compensate victims as recommended by the Commission,” reads part of the letter directed to Justice Minister, Ziyambi Ziyambi.
The victims’ family members who spoke to The NewsHawks in September revealed they are yet to be engaged by government over compensation as was recommended by the commission of inquiry Maxwell Tauro, the father of Challenge Tauro (20), who was shot in the electoral violence, has since fallen on hard times, with government assisting him with ZW$1 000 to meet funeral expenses.
The government has also failed to make a formal apology to the victims’ families. The commission also recommended accountability for the heinous crimes committed by the military during the protests, but government has not taken any action to bring culprits to book.
“So far, the Government of Zimbabwe has not instituted security sector reforms to ensure that the military acts within the provisions of the Constitution of Zimbabwe and in conformity with human rights norms and standards.
“The State is still to implement Section 210 of the (Constitution of Zimbabwe that provides for an Independent Complaints Mechanism “for receiving and investigating complaints from the members of the public about misconduct on the part of members of the security services, and for remedying any harm caused by such misconduct”,” reads the letter.
CiCZ has also registered concern over failure by the government to implement electoral reforms, as recommended by the commission of inquiry.
“Administrative and legal electoral reforms such as improving transparency in the result management system, enhancing the independence of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec), aligning the Electoral Act to the Constitution of Zimbabwe including allowing diaspora vote and media reforms are fundamental to breaking the cycle of disputed elections in Zimbabwe.
A report by the European Union Election Observer Mission (EOM) released in May also exposed the snail-paced implementation of electoral reforms.
The EOM proposed 23 recommendations, including 10 priority ones aimed at aligning the Electoral Act to the 2013 Zimbabwean Constitution, strengthening the independence of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) and increasing information sharing throughout the process.
CiCZ says the government should implement a multi-stakeholder approach in implementing the inquiry recommendations.
“We do hereby request that the government of Zimbabwe . . . fully implement the Motlanthe Commission recommendations in its letter and spirit, prosecute military personnel who killed unarmed civilians on August 1, 2018, set up a genuine multi-stakeholder dialogue platform to agree on the reform agenda.
“Stakeholders must include government, CSOs, churches, trade unions and opposition political parties, students among others, end ongoing human rights violations and impunity, respect political diversity and political pluralism,” CiCZ said.