Family of August 1 victim demands justice 5 years after post-election violence

The family of Charles Dean Gavin, one of the six people who were killed in the August 1, 2018, post-election violence in Zimbabwe, is demanding justice.

Gavin’s brother, Damian Gavin, said that the family is disappointed that no one has been held accountable for his death.

In a virtual commemoration of the six, held via a Twitter Space by Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, Gavin said they are stuck as a family as they do not know what channels to use in their quest for justice. 

“There has not been any acknowledgement or apology from anyone. How do we even begin to seek justice as a family in such a situation? We want to know who pulled that trigger, who ordered the opening of fire. But we don’t think we will get any of those answers. We need as much assistance as we can get to deal with this issue. My brother’s life cannot just go in vain. In our pursuit for justice, we also fear for our lives,” he said. 

“We are still traumatised. We don’t know which steps to take to attain justice for our brother. He left behind a daughter, she recently turned 18. Life has been difficult for her, we struggled to raise her after the death of her father. We struggled with her tuition to put her through school. She deserves to know what happened to her father and she deserves compensation.” 

The Gavin family is not alone in their quest for justice.

The National Transitional Justice Working Group (NTJWG) said that the nation remains wounded following the August 1 violence. The NTWJG’s coordinator, Fortune Kuhudzwe, said that nothing has been done to adhere to the recommendations of the Motlanthe Commission of Inquiry, which was set up to investigate the violence.

“We remain wounded as a nation and based on the time that has lapsed without any meaningful recourse, we have little hope in attaining justice,” Kuhudzwe said. “We are now headed towards another election, yet our elections are synonymous with violence.”

Heal Zimbabwe Trust Director Rashid Mahiya said that it is important to have security and justice systems that will be trusted by people.

“As Heal Zimbabwe, we do not want a repetition of August 1, 2018,” Mahiya said. “People’s political rights should not be infringed. We must ensure that the victims are compensated. There is the issue of national trauma that needs to be dealt with.”

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