August 1 killings: Only 35 to be compensated

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GOVERNMENT is reviewing the eligibility of only 35 cases for compensation in the aftermath of the August 1 2018 shootings, amid growing frustration from aggrieved victims, who say the process is moving at a sluggish pace, the Zimbabwe Independent can report.

By Tinashe Kairiza

In the wake of the August 1 shootings, during which state security agents shot dead six civilians, with dozen others seriously injured, government set up the Kgalema Motlanthe Commission of Inquiry which recommended that victims be compensated.

The fatal shootings were triggered by protestors demanding the immediate announcement of the results of last year’s disputed polls which, were narrowly won by President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs secretary Virginia Mabhiza told the Independent that a cabinet taskforce has been set up to administer the compensation exercise, with the body currently assessing 35 cases, among other things.

“A cabinet taskforce committee was set up to oversee the compensation process and currently it is assessing around 35 cases (for compensation),” Mabhiza said, adding that the committee was being chaired by Justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi.

Among other obligations, Mabhiza said, the taskforce would also determine the amount of compensation to be paid to each of the victims.

“The taskforce will determine the appropriate figures using an agreed criterion. The issue of disbursement has not yet been discussed,” she said. The taskforce is comprised of representatives from the ministries of finance, justice and social welfare.

Mabhiza could, however, not disclose how much has been set aside by government to meet the compensation bill.

Adrian Munjere, a bystander who was hit by a bullet on his right hand when state security agents randomly fired in Harare’s central business district, expressed dissatisfaction at the snail pace of the process.

On that fateful afternoon, Munjere said he lost mobile phones valued at US$1 200 which he intended to sell at the Ximex Mall complex as he fled from the shootings.

Munjere, who sustained a gaping wound on his right hand, accrued a US$5 200 medical bill for treatment.

“Soon after the commission of inquiry completed its job, the names of people who were made to believe they were going to receive compensation were read out. My name was on number two on that list,” Munjere said. “This was in January and nothing has been done yet. I am not happy at all. We are told government has started paying out businesses which were affected. But those who were injured are not getting anything.”

Munjere said his medical bills for attending therapy sessions were being footed by a non-governmental organisation called Tree of Life, which is a grouping of various civic society organisations.

After completing its probe around circumstances that triggered the August 1 shootings, the seven member commission also recommended that Mnangagwa should engage opposition leader Nelson Chamisa as part of a dialogue process perceived as key towards resolving Zimbabwe’s intractable political and economic crisis.

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