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Kgalema Motlanthe Commission hijacked

27 Nov 2018 at 20:31hrs | Views
After the violent demonstrations and the death of six people in Zimbabwe on the 1st August 2018 the president sought to go deeper in the problem. On the 14th September 2018 ED published a proclamation no 6 of 2018 establishing the commission of inquiry into the violence of August 2018. On the 19th September 2018 the commissioners were sworn in. These comprised of statesman soldiers and few lawyers and academicians. There has been a serious misunderstanding in the people of what exactly is the Commission of Inquiry.

The appointment of commissions of inquiry to investigate matters of public interest has in recent years become so familiar a phenomenon in Zimbabwe that the practice is sometimes regarded with certain degree of scepticism. As much of this scepticism stems from a failure to appreciate the value and potential of such commissions, generally and the niceties of this method of investigation as practiced in Zimbabwe in particular an exposition of some of the more important aspects of inquiry in this country is appropriate.

The President made it very clear the terms of which the commission was to operate on. It was charged with investigating the circumstances leading to the 1st of August Post Elections Violence and making suitable recommendations in the matter.

In his statement the president clearly stated that he has undertaken to set a commission which will investigate the post-election disturbing events which resulted in the loss of lives and damage of property, the commission was to be held in a transparent manner.  To identify the actors and their leaders their motive and their leaders and the strategy they employed in the disturbances.

It should make sense to understand the meaning of a Commission of Inquiry.
What is a Commission of Inquiry? Commissions of Inquiry may be established by the Governor or Premier to inquire into matters of major public importance and concern. A Commission may inquire into the conduct of any civil servant, the conduct or management of any department of the public service, or into any matter in which an inquiry would be deemed to be for the public welfare. The scope of a Commission is determined by its Terms of Reference. A Commission of Inquiry has certain powers. It may require the attendance of witnesses and the presentation of certain documentation.

This enables the Commission to uncover information which might otherwise be difficult to obtain. The Commission also has credibility in the eyes of the public as, once in train, the Government cannot interfere in the direction taken by a Commission of Inquiry or influence the findings. Commissions may call as a witness any person with an interest in an inquiry. Those interested persons retain the same privileges and immunities as witnesses and counsel in courts of law. Unless otherwise determined by the Commission, an inquiry is held in public, although the Commissioners are entitled to exclude anyone for the preservation of order, for the due conduct of the inquiry, or for any other reason.

Commissioners will conduct an inquiry in an impartial manner and in accordance with the direction in the commission. Commissioners will report the result of the inquiry in writing to the Premier and provide the Premier with a statement of the proceedings of the Commission and of the reasons leading to the conclusions arrived at or reported.

In the past commissions of inquiry were often instituted either to justify actions taken against opponents or to provide the government with justification for acting against its opponents. Commissions of inquiry thus constitute an important piece of the history of the struggle for freedom. Although the reports of the commissions are often readily available, the minutes of evidence, which contain testimony from both sides of the struggle, were usually not published and copies of them are extremely rare.

In our case the commission of inquiry was not set to re-examine the history of ZANU PF violence or it perceived history of violence. It was not set to establish the violence of 2008 and any other violence of pre Restore Legacy.
In a very surprising turn of event the MDC hijacked the Commission of inquiry into a grand standing arena. They started playing to the gallery. The whole time given to the sympathisers and leaders was wasted in Chronology of the history of ZANU PF.

Tendai Biti and Chamisa both tried to hijack the commission by spending time on the history which had nothing to do with the vents of the 1st OF August 2018. The terms of the commission are so clear the questions to be answered were what happened on that day and what led to the happenings of the day. Why were the people on the streets? why was the army called in the streets and who called the army.

Most people spent their time trying to publish their agendas. It was a clear demonstration of what is called out of topic. Those who wish to be leaders of the country could not understand what was required in the commission yet they claim that they can understand what is required in the running of the nation.

Biti and Chamisa tried to invoke the emotions of the past yet they were far away from the point and the purpose of the commission.. They had sent their forerunners Japajapa and the mouthful Jim Kunaka. These were buoyed by a vociferous bought MDC T crowd who would applaud for anything but something.

One would feel a hot sense of shame running down the spine to see Biti behaving like a mad man chasing nothing as he tried to trudge the long journey of the revolution he is undermining. Tsvangirai who had fired Biti would turn in his grave to see Biti now the Vice President of the party Tsvangirai defended with his life. Tsvangirai had a foresight hence he kicked BITI and Sikhala and the crew out only for the blind toddler Chamisa to pull them back. No wonder they created a stage for their antics at the commission.

Most people were fooled and did not understand the purpose of the commission they applauded and rejoiced as Biti and Chamisa tried so hard to display their ignorance of the terms of the commission.

Would the Commission look into the evidence of issues in Mozambique during the war? Would they consider Mujuru's death in coming up to the conclusion and recommendations? Does it therefore make any political sense for Chamisa to spend an hour talking about ZANU PF history which was distorted as well? What would Chamisa and Biti and their stooges say they have contributed to the commission?

In order for transparency to be seen to have been done the commission allowed them to sing on and bore the nation to sleep. Biti would protest heavily when ZBC could not play his script. He had hoped to have a day on the stage and his audience was switched off. The youthful Chamisa refused to open his mouth until his friends view him on television. A stage to show case their political aurora was set. It was not in the name of the commo9isson but it was another rally this time in the name of the commission. Commissions of inquiry are potentially powerful instruments to fix responsibility on public functionaries, but everything possible has been done to blunt this instrument, by the MDC Alliance who turned the commission into a mudslinging arena. Democracy and vibrant public life need the support of a number of institutions such as Parliament, the media, the judiciary and other specially authorised Constitutional and statutory bodies.

One of them is the mechanism of the commission of inquiry appointed to look into definite matters of public importance. But it become frustrating if these institutions start functioning at cross-purposes,
At the outset, the distinctive features of an inquiry by a commission must be noted. In such an inquiry, there is no plaintiff or prosecutor and there is no defendant or accused. It was shocking that the opposition came to the inquiry with one aim to clear themselves and to blame ZANU PF. Their motive then was not coexisting with the noble aims of the commission. They approached the commission with dirty hands and wished to handle the white clothes with the soiled hands. This was not a commission of self-cleansing built to find out the truth and come with recommendations. The behaviour of the opposition was dubious and highly suspect. The commission is not expected to act as a judge, but has to make every effort to arrive at the truth. Strict rules of evidence do not apply and the commission does not pass any order which is binding on the government. So there was no need for MDC and Japajapa  Kunaka to grand stand.

The Commission merely makes recommendations based on its findings. It is left to the government to decide whether to accept the recommendations or to overlook them altogether.

The main idea is to bring all facts to the notice of the people at large in open hearings, unless the matter pertains to State secrets or are such that the commission feels that they may not be made public till they are fully inquired into, some assertions made by Chamisa and Biti were destructive to national peace. Making unsubstantiated allegations of past violence and apportioning it to the other party was farfetched and deeply depressing and flabbergasting.

Looking at the above, it is difficult to understand why anyone should object to an inquiry by a commission. And even if such an objection is raised, the courts must lay down the strictest possible requirements before entertaining such pleas.

The issues, which were considered to be of public importance according to the state governments own notification, ceased to be so due to the injudicious intervention of the opposition.

Commissions of inquiry are potentially powerful instruments to fix responsibility on public functionaries but everything possible has been done to blunt this instrument as well.

The issues raised by Jim Kunaka Tendai Biti Nelson Chamisa and some other contributors were historical irrelevant and had nothing to do with the commission. The terms of the commission were very clear.

It is therefore true that the opposition had tried to hijack the commission derail its terms divert its focus and lead it into wilderness. There is the truth behind the 1st August 2018 this is the Truth WHICH THE OPPOSITION IS TRYING TO HIDE FROM THE PUBLIC BY DERAILING THE PROCESS.

Source - Dr Masimba Mavaza
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