The Commission of Inquiry into the August 1, post-election violence – chaired by former South African president Kgalema Motlanthe – resumed in Harare on Monday.
The commission heard testimonies from the Zimbabwe Republic Police, medical service providers and senior officers responsible for deploying law enforcement agencies.
Harare District Chief Superintendent Albert Ncube said that although under the Public Order and Security Act he was supposed to be in charge, but was not.
“I did not have enough manpower as the majority of police officers were assisting the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission. The instructions to the police deployed was to disperse protesters, the police were not armed. The police and support unit managed to keep protesters at under control,” he said.
Ncube said the force used by the military was equivalent to the problem on the ground.
Commissioner General Godwin Matanga told the commission that the urgency of the August 1 protests did not give the security apparatus time to follow the constitutional procedures required when deploying the army.
Commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, Phillip Valerio Sibanda laid the blame of the deaths of six people on the opposition MDC Alliance, saying they threatened to unleash violence if they lost the elections.
He said that the intervention of the police and army was meant to contain the situation that was spiralling out of control.
While Commander of the Presidential Guard and the National Reaction Force Brigadier General Anslem Sanyatwe insisted that the soldiers did not shoot at any civilians. He said it was possible that the civilians were killed by people who were not soldiers.
When questioned about the video in which a soldier was recorded kneeling and firing into the crowd, Sanyatwe said that soldier was firing warning shots into the air because his gun was at a 45-degree angle.
In August, Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa set up the commission following military intervention in the capital two days after the elections which resulted in the deaths of six people.