Veritas: Zimbabwe Ignoring Motlanthe Commission By Deploying Soldiers2 years ago
A legal and Parliamentary think-tank, Veritas, has accused Zimbabwe of ignoring the Kgalema Motlanthe Commission recommendations which among other things said law enforcement should be left only to the police.
The commission also said the deployment of the military to assist the police should be a measure of last resort under extraordinary situations.
Veritas observed that the government was using the military to enforce the national COVID-19-induced lockdowns, a task the think-tank says can be done by the police.
The Kgalema Motlanthe Commission was set up to probe the infamous August 1 2018 shootings which left six people dead in Harare after riots erupted as voters demanded the expeditious release of the presidential election result.
The commission which was chaired by Kgalema Motlanthe, South Africa’s former president, was established by President Emmerson Mnangagwa to investigate the shootings.
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In a recent bulletin, Veritas observed that the government had deployed soldiers across the country to enforce Covid-19 restrictions without informing Parliament. Said the think-tank:
Soldiers man roadblocks together with the police to enforce lockdown restrictions on movement. Soldiers are also deployed to patrol high-density areas and clear city centres. Their involvement in enforcing the lockdown has been institutionalised in regulations under the Public Health Act, which include members of the defence forces in the definition of ‘enforcement officer…
The delay (in implementing Motlanthe’s recommendations) can’t be attributed to the Covid-19 pandemic because the legal reforms that are needed to democratise Zimbabwe and to implement the commission’s recommendations can be developed, drafted and passed by Parliament even if the country is in lockdown.
The pandemic has, however, been used as a pretext for ignoring the commission’s recommendation that soldiers should be called on to assist the police only as a last resort. As we have noted, soldiers have been manning roadblocks and helping to clear city centres during lockdowns.
The calls for the implementation of the Motlanthe commission recommendations come amid reports that the military has brutalising citizens nationwide as they enforce the lockdown restrictions.