High Court Judge Says Mnangagwa Did Not Deploy Soldiers On August 1, It Was Chiwenga

High Court judge Justice David Mangota has preempted the work of the Kgalema Motlanthe led Commission of Inquiry into the August 1 violence and killings by declaring that that President Emmerson Mnangagwa was not the one who deployed soldiers on the day.

The judge instead said that the soldiers had been deployed by the Minister of Defence, who at that time was Vice President, retired General Constantino Chiwenga. Justice Mangota made the ruling in a case in which he dismissed the application which was filed by Allison Charles, a relative of, Gavin Charles, a shooting victim of the August 1violence and the CSU challenging the legality of President Mnangagwa’s decision to appoint the Commission of Inquiry to probe the post-election violence.

Part of the Justice Mangota’s ruling says,

The circumstances of the events of 1 August 2018 unfold themselves in a manner which is as clear as night follows day. They run in the following order:

a) a commotion started in the central business district of Harare;

b) the officer who commands the district assessed the magnitude of the commotion as measured against the strength of the personnel which was then at his disposal;

c) he approached the Police Commissioner-General whom he appraised of what was obtaining;

d) the Police Commissioner-General approached the Minister under whose supervision he operates;

e) the Minister, in turn, approached his counterpart in the Ministry of Defence;

f) he, in turn, dispatched members of the defence forces who worked under the command of the regulating authority of the district of Harare.

…The above-stated matters expose the incorrectness of the applicants’ syllogism. They proceed on the premise that, because the Constitution confers power on the President to deploy, he deployed Members of the defence forces on 1 August 2018. The correct position of the matter is that he did not.

Because the President did not deploy, he is not conflicted as the applicants would have the court believe. He also did not violate s 214 of the Constitution. He, in other words, did not owe a duty to report to Parliament matters which did not arise out of the power which the Constitution confers upon him.

His moral duty which arises out of what occurred on 1 August 2018 was/is to set up the commission of inquiry which he established on 14 September 2018. He remained alive to the fact that Zimbabwe and the world deserve a clear statement of the causes of the violence and the need on the part of the country to define as well as prevent such unfortunate occurrences in all future elections. The commission which he set up will, the fullness of time, unearth those.

The Motlanthe Commission is yet to finish public hearings into the matter with the next hearings being scheduled for Mutare. At least 6 people did when soldiers used live bullets to disperse a protest by opposition supporters.

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