MDC leader Nelson Chamisa today declared that he will only agree to testify before the Commission of Inquiry into the August 1 killings if President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his two deputies, Constantino Chiwenga and Kembo Mohadi, are also subpoenaed to give their account of the fateful shootings.
The seven-member commission, chaired by former South African president Kgalema Mothlanthe, has summoned Chamisa to testify after he was accused this week during the inquiry of inciting violence resulting in the shootings of six civilians by the military two days after the July 30 harmonised elections.
At a press conference in Harare, Chamisa said: “We are very clear that those names that have been mentioned whether by mistake, by malice or by anything…. In as much as we doubt and question the credibility of the commission, we still feel that if they are to be fair, (they call them).
“What is good for the goose must be good for the gander; they must be able to invite Mr Mnangagwa, Mr Chiwenga, and Mr Kembo Mohadi. That’s why we say there is folly in that commission, if you invite Mnangagwa so that you report to him. Mnangagwa cannot investigate himself, he is implicated.”
Chamisa said Mnangagwa should answer as to why the army was unleashed on defenceless citizens.
He accused the commission of being selective and manipulating witness accounts.
“We would want to see also if Mnangagwa is going to go. If he is not going, why should I go alone? We want everyone to go,” Chamisa said.
“We have said that we will only be able to appear subject to certain things. We have decided we have no time for these shenanigans. It is choreographed. Once you start saying, we want to know what necessitated the violence, you are already working from an answer. It’s working from a script; the script is that, they want to decimate the MDC.”
This week the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) Commander General Valerio Sibanda and Zimbabwe Republic Police Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga appeared before the commission.
Sibanda flatly denied that the army was responsible for gunning down the six, though he admitted that the military intervened under the National Reaction Force constituting the army, police and intelligence units.
Matanga told the commission the police were planning on arresting Chamisa over the August 1 shootings.
But Chamisa scoffed at Matanga’s threats saying state witnesses were choreographed.
“If you look at all the witnesses, not a single citizen had an issue against Mr Chamisa. But it’s some in the state who are working on a scripted, choreographed narrative to try and say, we want Mr Chamisa to come. How does Matanga speak about incitement and then say Mr Chamisa will be given a position, and then we are waiting. Why should law enforcement be subject to some of those vicissitudes of political configuration, why,” Chamisa said.
“You can arrest Chamisa, but that’s not the solution. This nation is deeply divided; in fact there would be no need for a commission of inquiry if there was no crisis in Zimbabwe. Even if they arrest us, they will not be able to arrest the problems affecting this country. Because the problems affecting this country are not solved by vindictiveness, problems are not solved by revenge.”
The ugly scene of August 1, all in the full glare of the international community and global media, prompted the setting up of the commission of inquiry which has been on a fact finding mission since last month.
According to evidence presented before the commission this week, the National Reaction Force was deployed under the tactical command of Presidential Guard commander Brigadier General Anslem Sanyatwe. Sanyatwe has however said the National Reaction Force was given strict orders not to shoot.
Chamisa told journalists that the MDC possessed unseen footage of the shootings in Harare’s central business district.
“What they don’t know is that we have footage of what happened in the city and want that footage to be honored and respected,” he said.
However, Chamisa blamed the demonstrators for the premature protests, labeling them as “stupid”.
“It was very stupid even for those people who demonstrated to demonstrate for the result to be released. It was stupid because they then opened themselves for attacks and manipulation and that’s my view. I’m not insulting them, but it was premature and they opened themselves to manipulation and violence,” he said.
The commission is set to release its findings at the end of November after hearing submissions from several stakeholders and victims of the shootings.