The Commission of Inquiry into the 1 August violence in Zimbabwe in which six people were killed began its work today with Commission chair former South African President Kgalema Motlanthe saying they will carry out their duties with the highest standards of integrity, impartiality, ethical and professional conduct.
Motlanthe who heads a seven member team said they will begin public hearing in mid-October and are currently inviting submissions which must be lodged with the commission not later than 12 October.
He called on all Zimbabweans to embrace and participate fully in the work of the commission.
The commission was sworn in on Wednesday but has already been under severe criticism from the opposition because of the inclusion of local members who are reported to have links to the ruing Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front.
Motlanthe however, said: “We will listen to all the views from all sectors of the people of Zimbabwe on what transpired on that fateful day.
“We will do our work diligently, professionally and in a transparent manner without fear or favour.
“Ultimately our goal is to assist the people of Zimbabwe find lasting peace, unity, healing and reconciliation.”
The opposition and civic organisations have accused the military of being heavy handed and indiscriminately shooting innocent protestors. Some reports have put the number of people killed as high as 11.
ZANU-PF and the government have, however, blamed the opposition for sparking the violence when it realised it was losing the elections.
The violence broke out two days after one of the most peaceful elections in Zimbabwe’s history when it was increasingly becoming clear that the opposition was losing the elections.
ZANU-PF ended up winning 145 of the 210 elected seats.
Mnangagwa won the presidential vote but opposition leader Nelson Chamisa has rejected the result, insisting that he won.
He planned to inaugurate himself as the “people’s president” last weekend but the ceremony meant to commemorate the party’s 19th anniversary was cancelled because of the outbreak of cholera in the capital.
Cholera has so far claimed 32 lives but is now reported to be under.
The MDC says it will hold its anniversary celebrations next weekend but it is not clear whether this will be cleared by the police because of the cholera epidemic.
Motlanthe said he had full confidence in members of his commission, adding: “Our message to the people of Zimbabwe is: use this commission as part of the necessary building blocks towards a new Zimbabwe- a country of your dreams, your hopes and aspirations”.