OVER the past few days social media platforms have been kept in a sizzle in Zimbabwe and beyond. The subject was the Motlanthe Commission of Inquiry into the needless violence of August 1 which left six people dead.
The Commission has conducted interviews and observed video evidence of what happened on that day. It ended its public hearings last week, and submitted its Executive Summary of findings to President Mnangagwa.
Decent people are waiting in anticipation to hear what the President does next.
But we underestimated the determination of the MDA-Alliance’s “jecha” brigade to push its smear agenda to discredit anything and everything not to their liking. Before we knew it, social media, in particular Twitter, was overflowing with bitter complaints that the Commission had rushed its report; that it had excluded or ignored important stakeholders in the person of Jestina Mukoko.
It seems like Zimbabwe has not seen the end of the MDC-Alliance’s foppery to avoid being forgotten. The Commission began its inquiry in early September. There were breaks in-between until the last interviews last week.
Before MDC-Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa and his deputy Tendai Biti finally made their presentations, they had been posturing and playing hard to get and demanding to sit on the same podium with President Mnangagwa.
Meanwhile, the Commission secretariat was hard at work executing its mandate. There were many such occasions when the Commission did not conduct public interviews, meaning they were sifting through the information and evidence before them to meet or beat, the December 19 deadline.
We expected a serious opposition to be happy that the Commission would complete its task on time to save taxpayers’ money. In any case, what was presented last Thursday was only an executive summary for the President, not the full report.
The truth is that we are dealing with an opposition with no national agenda besides scooping jecha into the family meal. It is a party stinking with contradictions. It is a party which sees itself as the alpha and omega of political wisdom. It’s either their way or no way.
The MDC-Alliance’s dirty agenda now seeks to discredit the Motlanthe inquiry the same way they fought to drag Zimbabwe Electoral Commission chair Justice Priscilla Chigumba’s name in the jecha, the moment it was evident they would not win the July 30 harmonised elections against Zanu-PF and President Mnangagwa.
Back then they started making demands beyond ZEC’s mandate around the involvement of their party in the movement and security and design of ballot papers. When Justice Chigumba rejected this unlawful interference they accused her of conniving with Zanu-PF.
This time around they are telling the world they have witnesses who deserve special treatment to testify before the Commission. They want to find a reason to manipulate the thinking of the Commission, to warn Motlanthe that he risks Chigumba’s fate if he refuses to indulge their demands.
We don’t see why a sworn anti-Government activist should get special treatment unless they were directly involved in the violence and want to explain what happened. So far we have not got such frankness, with Chamisa labelling his supporters who demonstrated “stupid”.
And this is the point we are making: throughout his untrammelled nationwide campaign ahead of the elections Chamisa told his supporters to reject any result which did not give him victory. He told them to stand ready to “defend our vote”. And while ZEC was still counting the parliamentary votes and Zanu-PF was powering far ahead, Chamisa and Biti declared their party had won.
And in less than two days from the vote on July 30, on August 1 the MDC-Alliance unleashed its supporters on to the streets of Harare claiming ZEC had taken too long to announce results of the Presidential vote. If that was the case, why is it now wrong for the Motlanthe Commission of Inquiry to complete its investigations and submit its report to the President at the earliest moment? Why is a delay now more than welcome?
The answer is simple: if the inquiry finds the MDC-Alliance leadership was “stupid” to incite people to demonstrate for “delayed” results less than 48 hours after the vote ended, it is because Motlanthe excluded special testimony from Mukoko.
The findings are being prejudged the same way they prejudged election results in a bid to discredit Chigumba. That’s how spiteful and malicious the jecha brigade can be.