By releasing the Kgalema Motlanthe led commission of inquiry, President Emmerson Mnangawa is literally biting a bullet as the commission’s findings and recommendation are hitting hard on his administration and calling for reforms, among them, security sector reforms.
This comes after the report findings reveal that the public media leaned more in favour of the ruling ZANU PF whilst independent media was heavily tilted in favour of the MDC Alliance.
It also found that there was deep polarization between the country’s two main political parties — ZANU PF and MDC Alliance — and their supporters.
The Commission found on a balance of probabilities that the protests were pre-planned and that speeches made by political leaders mostly the MDC Alliance before and after the elections heightened tensions and played a part in inciting some members of the public to protest.
The commission also found that the Government deployed the Military in accordance with the Constitution and the applicable law.
However, the commission also found that the use of live ammunition directed at people especially when they were fleeing was clearly unjustified and disproportionate and that the use of sjamboks, baton sticks and rifle butts to assault members of the public indiscriminately was also disproportionate.
The Commission noted that it received evidence of persisting grievances among communities especially in Matabeleland and the Midlands, arising from the events of the past such as Gukurahundi.
The commission recommended that in order to enhance efficiency and transparency in the announcement of election results, the development of ICT facilities for expeditious transmission of results to the Command Centre as soon as practicable.
It also recommended that Parliament should consider adopting legislation to shorten the time taken in the announcement of presidential results in future elections.
The Commission recommended that Parliament should give consideration to aligning the POSA with the provisions of the Constitution on the deployment of the Military internally.
The commission also made recommendations that use of the Military to assist the Police for the control of public should only be resorted to as a last measure in extraordinary situations.
It also recommended that in the interests of national cohesion and the protection of all citizens, that the Police should be further trained to be professional and non-partisan.
The Commission recommended the establishment of a multi-party reconciliation initiative, including youth representatives, with national and international mediation to address the root causes of the post-election violence and to identify and implement strategies for reducing tensions, promoting common understandings of political campaigning, combating
criminality, and uplifting communities.
The commission also stressed the need for National Healing because of the continued reference especially in Bulawayo and Gweru to events such as Gukurahundi.
The commission also recommended that those particular members of the Military and the Police found to have been in breach of their professional duties and discipline on the 1st of August 2018 should be identified as soon as possible for internal investigations.