Zimbabwean president sets up task force to address issues related to post-election violence

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa. / Internet photo

HARARE, Jan. 28 (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa has set up an inter-ministerial task force to address issues detailed in recent reports and findings concerning last year's post-election violence.

"President Mnangagwa has established an Inter-Ministerial Task Force to address issues arising from the reports by the 2018 Harmonized Election Observer Missions as well as the Findings of the Motlanthe Commission," the Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services said in a statement Monday.

The task force consists of justice minister as the chairman, minister of foreign affairs as deputy chair, minister of information, minister of finance, minister of home affairs, minister of industry, minister of state security, Zimbabwe Law Society Representative, the attorney general and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC).

Several observer missions commended the peaceful pre-election environment in last year's first post-Mugabe era elections but deplored the post-election violence that occurred on Aug. 1 resulting in the deaths of six people and destruction of property.

Western observers, in particular the European Union (EU) observer mission, hailed the peaceful pre-election period but condemned what it called misuse of state resources, intimidation of voters, partisan behavior by traditional leaders and overt bias of the state media in favor of the ruling ZANU-PF party.

The EU observer mission also noted lack of independence of the ZEC, saying this undermined public trust in the electoral body.

The observer group, which was the single largest international observer group to the polls, recommended implementation of reforms to ensure the ZEC is widely perceived to be an independent election management body capable of administering credible elections.

The Commission of Inquiry set up by President Mnangagwa to look into the Aug. 1 violence also made a number of recommendations including national dialogue among main political parties, provision of compensation to all the affected victims, review of all laws relating to hate speech, abuse of cyber space and incitement to commit acts of violence.

The seven-member Commission of Inquiry, chaired by former South African President Kgalema Motlanthe, also recommended that police should be equipped with the necessary skills and capacity to deal with rioters and should be further trained to be professional and non-partisan.