PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa’s appointment of a seven-member commission of inquiry into the post-election violence that led to the killing of seven civilians in Harare by members of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) on August 1, 2018 has been challenged.
BY CHARLES LAITON
On August 29, Mnangagwa appointed a commission, led by former South African President Kgalema Motlanthe, a Briton, a Tanzanian and Nigerian to work with three locals, Lovemore Madhuku, Charity Manyeruke and Vimbai Nyemba.
But one of the victims’ relatives has taken Mnangagwa to court, challenging the appointment which he claims is illegal, unreasonable and irrational.
Alison Charles, whose brother Gavin Dean Charles was shot and killed on the day in question, has, in conjunction with the Counselling Service Unit, petitioned the High Court to declare as unconstitutional the appointment of the commission.
“I respectfully contend that the decision by the first respondent (Mnangagwa) to appoint a commission of inquiry is reviewable on the basis that it is grossly unreasonable on at least two separate grounds and or interlinking bases,” Alison said in his founding affidavit.
“It is submitted that the decision of the first respondent is unlawful in that; it violates the principle of legality and/or it is irrational.”
Charles, through his lawyers, Atherstone and Cook Alison said Mnangagwa’s commission would not deliver as it comprised of biased commissioners such as Manyeruke and Madhuku.
“On August 29, 2018, Mnangagwa ‘purportedly’ acting in terms of the Commissions of Inquiry Act, appointed a seven-member commission of inquiry into what he termed “post-election violence on August 1, 2018,” he said.
“The postulated commission consists of local, regional and international members.
The first respondent has not yet gazetted the commission of inquiry as required of him by the Commissions of Inquiry Act.”
Charles said Mnangagwa appointed the commission before he appointed his Cabinet, making it illegal, according to section 88 (2) and section 105(1) of the Constitution.
He said it was “a notorious fact” that Manyeruke was a staunch Zanu PF supporter and thus it was not rational to appoint her into the commission.
He said Madhuku’s mind was soiled having made pronouncements on the matter.
In the alternative, Charles urged the court to declare the appointment of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission or the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission as the appropriate body to investigate the killings.
“Alternatively, the first respondent’s decision in appointing the following commissioners be and is hereby set aside; (1) Professor Charity Manyeruke (2) Professor Lovemore Madhuku,” he said, adding in the alternative the commission of inquiry’s terms of reference must be replaced.
He added that he was also not happy with the manner the police have so far handled the issue of his brother’s death, accusing the law enforcement agents of refusing to allow the family access to the post-mortem report.