A commission in Zimbabwe says the army was responsible for the killing of six people in post-election violence earlier this year. But it absolved the government of President Emmerson Mnangagwa for deploying the troops. One of the survivors welcomes the commission's recommendation for compensation, but the opposition is not happy.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa says the commission he had set up to investigate violence post election violence had absolved his government of deploying the army, which killed six people.
Mnangagwa said the use of the army was "unavoidable," but "lawful" since lives and property were “under threat."
But he said troops were not supposed to use live ammunition against the demonstrators, who were protesting a delay in election results.
"It is imperative for the police urgently to complete their investigations to enable prosecution of those persons responsible for crimes committed on Aug. 1 Those particular members of the military and police found to have been in breach of their professional duties and discipline on Aug. 1, should be identified as soon as possible for internal investigations and appropriate action sanctioned," Mnangagwa said
The commission, led by former South African interim president Kgalema Motlanthe, recommended Tuesday that families of victims who lost their lives be compensated, while those wounded must have their medical bills paid for.
Adrian Manjere's arm was fractured by a stray bullet from an AK-47 on August first, according to a medical report. He told VOA he is still in pain and very bitter, but he welcomed the commission's call for compensation.
"I think justice has been done if they say they are compensating us, that is all we ever needed, because we were struggling with bills. Right now I cannot even afford physiotherapy. So it is good news that they are going to compensate us," Manjere said.
The 31-year-old says he has spent about $11,000 for medical treatment since the incident, and is struggling to care for his family.
“I would prefer a life compensation something like $100,000 or $200,000, I think with that figure I will be able to cope up. Because I was told by medical experts that I can not do hard or manual job with this hand anymore, so I have to do minor chores. So I think if I would get that amount of money, it will be able to help me, but it will not be able to cover up for the loss. No. No. It is only a little token to get a living,” Manjere said.
President Mnangagwa did not indicate if his government would accept all the commission's recommendations, including those for compensation and medical refunds.
That is a real issue given that Zimbabwe’s government is struggling to meet all its obligations.
During the hearings, officials said the opposition Movement for Democratic Change was responsible for the Aug. 1 protests.
The investigators made no mention of the opposition Tuesday.
But MDC spokesman Jacob Mafume says the commission was a waste of time.
Mafume continued, "It returns back to the perpetrators the question, 'Who shot people? Who was in command?' It simply says, 'The army', which is what everyone knew before the commission was set up. People expected the commission to ask serious questions, 'Who, what are their names, have they been taken before a disciplinary or a criminal process?"
On Monday, President Mnangagwa promoted Anselem Sanyatwe to the rank of major general. Sanyatwe, the outgoing head of the presidential guard, commanded the military unit that shot at the protesters.