Motlanthe Urged to Protect Victims And Witnesses
The Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum chairperson Jestina Mukoko has pleaded with the Commission of Inquiry into the 1st of August 2018 post election violence to assure victims and witnesses protection sensationally revealing that families of the deceased and human rights defenders have been victimized by the state agents.
Addressing the media in the capital today, Mukoko, a renowned human rights activists, said a number of civil society groups have been nocturnally visited by the state agents a move she said is designed to interfere with investigations as the commission hears testimonies from people who have information on the violence.
“The Forum wishes to inform the Commission and all stakeholders that it is paramount that the security of the victims, witnesses and the human rights defenders working on these cases be guaranteed. Since August 1, victims of the human rights violations, families of the deceased and human rights defenders have reported victimization by State agents,” she said.
Following the violence that claimed at least six lives, allegations and reports of state agents visiting Chitungwiza, Kuwadzana among other suburbs surfaced with the residents placed on a curfew as serious hunting down of suspected perpetrators of violence got nastier then.
Some of the opposition leaders and their members as a result were arrested and some have been released on bail with the state accusing the principals of churning out inflammatory and highly charged messages alleged to have inspired the protests.
“With these reports in mind, it becomes necessary to put in place witness and victim protection measures , to ensure that the State which is accused of being one of the actors in the August 1 Killings, does not interfere with evidence and due process,” said Mukoko.
Meanwhile, the Commission of Inquiry, which is chaired by former South African President Kgalema Motlanthe has pleaded with members of the public who have helpful information regarding the post election violence to come forward and testify before 12 October.
Thereafter, the commission will conduct public hearings in its bid to knit together information before making conclusive findings within three months.