Biti appears before Motlanthe Commission under protest, says three commissioners are conflicted


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Movement for Democratic Change vice-chairman Tendai Biti today appeared before the Kgalema Motlanthe Commission of Inquiry into the violence of 1 August but said he was doing so under protest.

He said the commission was wrongly appointed because it was appointed by President Emmerson Mnangagwa who is the commander-in-chief of the country’s defence forces and was therefore conflicted as he could not be both the judge and the jury.

He also said some of the terms of reference should have been the findings of the commission. He cited   reference (b) which reads: “to identify the actors and their leaders, their motive and strategies employed in the protests”.

He said this presupposed that there were leaders of the protests, they had a motive, and they had strategies.

Biti who appeared before the commission with his legal advisors, said three members of the commission were conflicted.

Charity Manyeruke was a known member of the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front and in his opinion she should have resigned when Jim Kunaka gave evidence to that effect last week.

He was also not comfortable with British lawyer Rodney Dixon because it appeared he specialised in representing military juntas.

Biti said he did not know Dixon but had read this on his website.

The website says: “Rodney Dixon practices both internationally and domestically in the fields of international law, public law, and human rights. He acts on behalf of Governments, political leaders, military commanders, international organisations, companies, NGOs, and victims.

“He specialises in public international law and international criminal law before all international, regional and national courts. Domestically, his expertise is in administrative and public law particularly in cases concerning foreign relations, the military, terrorism, public inquiries, extradition and mutual assistance, education, and health and safety.”

It also says: “Rodney Dixon’s international work covers all international criminal courts for trial, appeal and review proceedings; Privy Council cases; UN and civil claims; bilateral investment treaty matters; territorial and border disputes; international inquiries and investigations; actions before the International Court of Justice (ICJ); applications before the European Court of Human Rights and before the African Commission and African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights; and, private international law cases.”

Biti said he was not comfortable with the former Chief of Tanzania Defence Forces General Davis Mwamunyange because he was very close to Zimbabwe Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga.

He also said the commission should not look at the 1 August violence in isolation because Zimbabwe had never known peace dating back to the colonial times.

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The Insider

The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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