Violence breaks out at Motlanthe commission hearing

A commission of inquiry hearing into the post-election violence that led to the death of six civilians in Harare was temporaily suspended in Bulawayo, Friday, after violence broke out involving some members of the audience.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa appointed a seven-member committee, led by former South African president Kgalema Motlanthe, to investigate the disturbances that led to the killing of six Zimbabweans by the Zimbabwe National Army.

During the hearing which was emotionally charged, the emotive Gukurahundi issue took center stage with some of the people testifying narrating the ordeal.

One of the witnesses claimed President Mnangagwa killed his father during the 1980s disturbances.

This did not go down well with one member of the audience, who shouted, “Where you there when your father was killed?”

This prompted some other members of the audience to confront the heckler and it quickly escalated into a fist fight.

Police quickly moved in to try and contain the situation before the seven member commission was whisked out of the room by the police.

Outside the venue, police officers quickly arrested some of the hecklers including member of the Mthwakazi Republic Party (MRP).

Earlier during the hearing, some of the members of the audience called on the commission to investigate the Gukurahundi atrocities.

“Why are you interested in finding out who killed six people yet you have never bothered to investigate the death of over 20 000 in Matabeleland?” shouted one member of the audience.

Former legislator and MDC Alliance Bulawayo provincial spokeperson Felix Mafa Sibanda, who was one of the witnesses, implored the commission to identify the person who deployed the army to quell in the mass protests.

“The commission should be able to identify the person who deployed the army,” he said.

The commission is expected to present its final report to President Mnangagwa after three months.

Mnangagwa has vowed to make the commission`s findings public.


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