The Zimbabwean military used excessive force in response to the protest that followed the delayed announcement of results of general elections held in July, a commission of inquiry said on Tuesday, 18 December 2018.
The high-level Commission of Inquiry set up by President Emmerson Mnangagwa in August to probe post-election violence, said in a report that although the deployment of soldiers was lawful, the use of live bullets by the military to quell the violence on 1 August 2018 was “disproportionate and unjustified”.
“However, the use of live ammunition directed at people, especially when they were fleeing, was clearly unjustified and disproportionate,” the probe team, led by former South African president Kgalema Motlanthe, said in the report.
At least six people were killed when soldiers fired live ammunition into the protesting crowd in the capital Harare.
The report noted that the deployment of the military was “unavoidable” to protect property and lives after the police had been overwhelmed by the mainly opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Alliance protesters who were demanding that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) releases all results for elections held on 30 July 2018.
The inquiry also found MDC Alliance leaders guilty of inciting the violence that resulted in the deployment of the soldiers.
The report recommended that the government compensates families of those killed during the skirmishes as well as those were injured.
It also called for disciplinary action against the soldiers responsible for the shooting.