Kgalema Motlanthe to lead Zim's commission of inquiry into post-election killings

2018-08-29 19:39
Kgalema Motlanthe. (File: GCIS)

Kgalema Motlanthe. (File: GCIS)

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Zimbabwe's president on Wednesday set up a commission of inquiry into the killing of six people following military intervention in the capital two days after the election.

The seven members include British lawyer Rodney Dixon, counsel for Kenya's government at the International Criminal Court as it tried to avoid charges against now-President Uhuru Kenyatta related to post-2007 election violence.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa said the commission, led by former South African president Kgalema Motlanthe, should finish its work in three months.

The killings shocked Zimbabwe after the peaceful July 30 election, the first after the fall of longtime leader Robert Mugabe in November. Many saw the vote as ushering in a new era but the sight of troops sweeping into the capital, Harare, to disperse opposition protesters raised fears about the future and questions about who was in charge.

Mnangagwa, a longtime confidant of Mugabe who was sworn in on Sunday with promises of reforms, said the commission will look into the violence, the reasons behind the military intervention and whether the force used by the military was appropriate.

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Other members of the new commission of inquiry include Nigerian former Commonwealth secretary-general Emeka Anyaoku, former Tanzanian defense chief Davis Mwamunyange and Zimbabwean legal and political experts.

One of the Zimbabwean members, political science professor Charity Manyeruke, is a member of the ruling Zanu-PF party.

Western election observers in a joint statement have criticised the "excessive" use of force in the killings, whose victims included a female street vendor who was shot in the back.

Final reports are pending from the observer missions. A credible election is key to lifting international sanctions and bringing badly needed investment to revive a shattered economy.

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