The commission of inquiry led by Kgalema Motlanthe probing post-election violence in Zimbabwe has called on the country’s law enforcement agencies to probe journalist Maynard Manyowa’s allegations of threats against him and his wives.
Spokesperson of the inquiry John Masuku said on Monday: “The commission of inquiry has received with concern a statement by Mr Maynard Kudakwashe Manyowa who testified before it on Thursday, alleging that he was viciously attacked on social media and also threatened in person including his two wives, children, and employees.”
He complained that the threats started when he was testifying live on ZBC [Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation] television and other online streaming media.
Masuku added: “In his statement, Mr Manyowa also alleges that pictures of his property have been exposed on various social media accounts with threats of causing physical harm and death to him, his family, and employees. Mr Manyowa has since reported his case to the police.”
The commission implored the Zimbabwe Republic Police and other law enforcement agents to urgently probe allegations made by the 28-year-old journalist.
Manyowa has come under severe criticism from Zimbabweans, particularly opposition supporters and human rights activists, who accuse him of lying under oath when he presented his evidence before the Motlanthe-led commission last week.
The state-run Herald newspaper last week quoted Manyowa as saying some of the victims were shot while they were in a crowd with no soldiers in sight.
Testifying before the commission, Manyowa said he did not see any soldiers when one of the victims, Ishmael Kumene, was fatally shot in Harare’s central business district during protests by people whom he said were MDC-Alliance supporters.
Critics accuse the News24 investigative journalist of lying in order to remove any blameworthiness from the military in the fatal shooting of at least six civilians on August 1.
However, Masuku warned that the commission was “fully committed to protecting all citizens who appear before it”.