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Call to arrest August 1 killer soldiers

by Staff reporter
23 Apr 2019 at 10:08hrs | Views
WHILE government has been commended for promising compensation to victims of the August 1 killings as recommended by the commission of inquiry which was chaired by former South African President Kgalema Motlanthe, analysts believe that is not enough as long as the perpetrators have not been arrested.

Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs permanent secretary Virginia Mabhiza - who was also secretary to the Motlanthe commission - told State media recently that only "direct dependents" of the deceased will receive compensation.

"The President (Emmerson Mnangagwa) set up a taskforce to implement recommendations from the (Motlanthe) commission, together with other reports from the various election observer missions.

"But with respect to compensation, we have dealt with the issue at the working party level, which I co-chair together with Foreign Affairs (and International Trade), and what we have done is that we have made recommendations to the (Inter-) ministerial taskforce requesting a budget that should be provided through the Department of Social Welfare to compensate the victims of the August 1 post-election violence," she said.

The commission of inquiry recommended that government sets up a special committee to assess and determine the quantum of damages and compensation to be awarded to victims on a case-by-case basis.

Political analyst Piers Pigou said clarity has not been made on the counsel made by the taskforce established by government to address the recommendations of the Motlanthe-led commission and relevant election observer missions.

He said this includes detailed on compensation, but also in terms of criminal accountability, which was recommended.

"At this juncture, we have at best a partial insight into compensation issues; but everything that is recommended will have to be approved by Cabinet.

"It also remains to be seen whether there will be compensation for the victims of the January violence, both those killed and injured by the security forces, but also those who lost property at the hands of violent protesters. At this juncture, there remain many more questions than answers," he said.

Lawyer and politician Obert Gutu said the correct approach is to identify those behind the killings and have them apologise in order for national healing to take place.

Gutu told the Daily News that in matters of bringing closure to emotional and painful memories of death and destruction; it is always advisable to heal both the victim and the perpetrator.

"While the government's decision to compensate victims of the August 1 disturbances is salutary, there's also a compelling need to identify the perpetrators and ensure that justice is not only done, but is also seen to be done.

"Restorative justice is not essentially about punishing the perpetrators since we all know that propagating and preaching the gospel of an eye for an eye will soon make the whole world blind," he said.

Gutu added that government has to adopt a holistic approach in which the perpetrators and the victims should be brought together so that the former can be able to genuinely seek forgiveness from the latter. "This will enable closure on both fronts to be achieved," he said.

MDC Alliance spokesperson Jacob Mafume has accused government of being insincere suggesting that the compensation process is just a cover-up to try and divert people's attention from questioning why the perpetrators are not punished.

"This government believes in stating things that it does not do by making statements that on the face of it appear to be progressive. The killings of the civilians have already been botched up before the implementation of the findings of the commission.

"The perpetrators and their commander have not been identified. This is just an effort to make people believe something is being done when nothing is actually being done.

"The process is all an attempt to appear to be progressive when this is all a cover up. There is no accountability and impunity has deepened," Mafume said.

Zanu-PF spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo, however, has maintained that government is willing to address the issues raised in the Motlanthe-led commission.

"Government is committed to implement the recommendations of the commission including bringing the perpetrators to account," he said.

Although Mnangagwa's administration seems willing to implement the recommendations, Zimbabweans seem to have lost confidence in government which has a history of letting perpetrators walk scot free.

Source - dailynews