The Sunday News
GOVERNMENT has fully complied with recommendations made by the Motlanthe Commission of Inquiry into the 1 August post-election violence, a senior official has said.
The Commission of Inquiry, which was chaired by former South African President Kgalema Motlanthe, gave four broad recommendations which included compensation of the victims’ families, electoral reforms, political co-existence and security sector reforms.
President Mnangagwa immediately set up a high-level Inter-Ministerial Committee on Political and Electoral reforms to facilitate implementation of the recommendations. Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Permanent Secretary Mrs Virginia Mabhiza, who was also the Commission’s secretary, told our Harare Bureau that most of the commission’s recommendations had been implemented.
“Four key issues ranging from compensation of the victims’ families, electoral reforms, political dialogue and security sector reforms came out as the key recommendations from the Motlanthe Commission,” said Mrs Mabhiza.
“There has been a lot of compliance. We have complied fully with the Motlanthe Commission but some of the processes are still ongoing. Though the Covid-19 lockdown has delayed implementation of some of the recommendations, we have covered a lot of ground. To a large extent we have complied with the recommendations of the commission though some of the issues remain work in progress.”
She said the establishment of the Political Actors Dialogue (Polad) was in fulfilment of the recommendation on initiating civil political co-existence, adding that several parties outside the dialogue platform were requesting to be included.
“For political co-existence you can see that Polad is very much on the ground. One major recommendation from the Motlanthe Commission was that political parties should dialogue. All political parties have converged and are dialoguing progressively. Only a few are not part of the dialogue.
“Polad is also getting a lot of applications from other parties that want to be part of the platform, which means on the ground dialogue is taking place.”
She said in terms of legislative reforms, laws such as the Public Order and Security Act (Posa) have already been repealed while others that were considered undemocratic are in the process of being dismantled.
These include the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (Aippa), whose successor laws are at different stages of legislation in Parliament.
“In terms of laws, Parliament is working on a number of issues that are pertinent especially for electoral processes.”
Mrs Mabhiza said on compensation, some of the victims’ families had not approached the Department of Social Welfare for assistance. Compensation for the families of the victims of the violence includes school fees support for minor children and medical bills. Some of the businesses that were damaged have received financial support from Government.
“When the report came out we had physical communication with the victims’ relatives and families who we told of the procedures to follow through social welfare in order to get compensation,” said Mrs Mabhiza.
“As the Ministry of Justice we are not responsible for payments. Payments are processed through (Ministry of Public Service, Labour and) Social Welfare. What has happened is that we have not really received much feedback from the families to ascertain the sort of assistance they have received.
“We had planned for assistance with payment of school fees for minor children and hand-outs to assist other elderly dependants with ordinary expenses.”
Secretary for the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Mr Simon Masanga did not respond to a request for a comment from our Harare Bureau .
Mrs Mabhiza said security sector reforms were taking place through retraining programmes for the Zimbabwe Republic Police.
“In terms of security sector reforms, you can see that there is a lot of training and retraining in the key security institutions. As the Justice Ministry we are also sharing with them on what the Constitution provides.”
The Motlanthe Commission concluded that the death of six people: Brian Zhuwawo, Challenge Tauro, Jealous Chikandira, Gavin Dean Charles, Ishmael Kumire and Silvia Maphosa and the injuries sustained by 35 others arose from the actions of the security services.
The commission also nailed several senior officials from the MDC-Alliance for incendiary rhetoric during the campaigns which resulted in the street riots.