By Wisdom Mumera
The Motlanthe Commission findings, revealing nothing new and crucifying no one for the shootings and deaths, have come to mirror the reptilian duplicity that has characterised President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s reign.
ED has been selling himself as the Zimbabwean Deng Xiaoping coming after the disastrous zealotry of Mugabe’s Mao Zedong but the actions have not tallied as has just happened with the Commission.
The Commission created to find out what happened on August 1 has only managed to become a political instrument for ED, entrenching politics of impunity from the past and reforming nothing.
By creating a COI and releasing the weak findings Mnangagwa has continued playing politics creating false images of himself as an open leader with nothing to hide dispelling the Chihambakwe and Dumbutshena tags of deviousness.
Secondly, he has deviously allowed for the creation of an alternative local narrative allowing him to approach the dialogue table with opposition leader Nelson Chamisa.
The COI has amongst its recommendation advised for dialogue with the opposition. Now ED has ‘local’ advice to listen to and if he were to agree to the talks, can deflect intra-party accusations of heeding opposition or Western orders by pointing at COI recommendations.
Thirdly the COI has set the bar so low for ED to jump over as the next step after such shocking events took place.
In a situation that should have resulted in arrests and resignations of various personnel, including ED himself, the COI has allowed for ED to simply pay off compensation to the victim’s families, indulge in some political dialogue, national reconciliation PR and move on.
“The payment of compensation is recommended for all victims of the violence and dependents of the deceased. Where the deceased had young children, they should be urgently assisted with school fees and their general welfare,” recommends the Commission.
It’s a cut-price for such a heinous act.
In the aftermath of the shooting, there was so much public anger and agitation to hold someone in authority responsible. It was a combustible moment that had to be handled carefully especially in urban areas where ED isn’t loved so much.
The creation of a stop-gap COI by ED allowed for the cooling of tempers and transference of anger from a likely return to the streets, for more fiery demos, to social media battles.
Grappling with the issue on social media, policy dialogue forums and other sanitized platforms has weathered the public’s real feelings into soporific indifference at Zanu PF criminality.
Thus the aftermath of the COI findings has been marked by empty and tired debates that are far removed from the fiery aftermath of the shootings. Just what ED liked.
As part of ED’s plan, the COI has also done what the MDC Alliance has called “equalization between the victim and the perpetrator”.
Whilst conceding that soldiers were responsible for the shooting it goes on to blame the MDC Alliance for, “organizing a demonstration and planning violence…claiming that the protestors were armed”.
These unverifiable allegations have firmly given ED a footing in the argument, playing the ‘we are both to blame so no one is to blame’.
“Given that property and lives were under threat at various locations, and in light of the inability of the Police to disperse the protesters, the firing by the Army and the Police of warning shots in the air in pursuit of their stated mission which was to clear the CBD of violent protesters was proportionate”, the report says.
Essentially the COI report has been a public relations gimmick to flatten and reorient public anger, spruce ED’s reformist illusionary image and bides time as he continues foraging for answers to the crisis that is Zimbabwe today