HARARE – It’s positive that president Emmerson Mnangagwa has finally sworn in members of the probe team to look into the army killings that occurred on August 1 in central Harare.
The military used live ammunition to break protests on that fateful afternoon.
MDC Alliance supporters were demonstrating against the delay in announcing presidential election results as well as alleged bias by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec).
Zimbabweans had participated in largely peaceful elections on July 30 and according to the Electoral Act, Zec had a five-day window to announce the results.
However, MDC Alliance protesters argued that Zec was delaying the announcement so as to rig the election in favour of President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
The police — who were reportedly failing to contain the protesters — enlisted the help of the army.
Former South African caretaker president Kgalema Motlanthe will lead the seven-member commission that has been tasked by Mnangagwa to look into the killings.
Other members of the commission are lawyer Lovemore Madhuku and Charity Manyeruke, Law Society of Zimbabwe ex-president Vimbai Nyemba, Rodney Dixon of the United Kingdom, former Tanzanian defence forces chief Davis Mwamunyange and ex-Commonwealth secretary-general Chief Emeka Anyaoku of Nigeria.
Commissions of inquiry in Zimbabwe, however, have a long history of failure to produce acceptable outcomes.
There is the Chihambakwe Commission, which was mandated to probe the Gukurahundi killings of the 1980s, whose findings have never been made public up to this day.
Following the Willowgate scandal of the late 1980s, former president Robert Mugabe set up the Sandura Commission to look into the matter.
A number of Cabinet ministers were caught on the wrong side by the Commission but Mugabe let them escape with only a slap on the wrist.
Who will ever forget the Nziramasanga Commission which was tasked to look into reforms into the education sector but the report that was produced was gathering dust on government shelves, until debate on the new curriculum plucked it out for reference.
It is our hope that the Motlanthe Commission will not suffer the same fate as the other inquiries the country has come up with.
Motlanthe and his team must be allowed the freedom to probe and get to the bottom of the killings.
Those found responsible for the killings should be brought to book to allow the country to move on from this sad chapter in our history.