HomeOpinion & AnalysisColumnistsThe poor are the real victims of violence

The poor are the real victims of violence


What is there to say about the rising political temperatures manifesting through recent violence by Zanu PF youths in Mbare except to express a sense of profound dismay?

Zimbabwe can certainly do without any further reminders of the violence and mayhem for which it has become infamous.

The latest events which have been reported in the press do not help Zimbabwe’s cause.

There is speculation that the violence may be related to the pending Zanu PF conference in Mutare (Zanu PF factions fighting among themselves) and elections slated for next year.

Even if this is the case, the biggest victim in all this are the long-suffering people of this country. It is sad that the violence has flared in Mbare, home to some of the poorest people in the country.

It has been reported that suspected Zanu PF supporters drove away MDC supporters from flea market stalls, a council boarding house and other council premises in Harare in what they have declared is a crusade to “take back what belongs to us”.

There are also reports of politically-motivated violence at a funeral wake in the same suburb.

Zanu PF Harare provincial youth chairman Jim Kunaka declared that MDC members would not be allowed to come back to the markets.

He said the MDC supporters had had their time and it was time Zanu PF reclaimed what had been “stolen from them”.

Zimbabwe has been struggling to repair its image after extended periods of violence before and after elections made this country a pariah state.

The root of violence in this country lies in the dangerous thinking that all contestations must be solved through physical fights.

We have leaders in this country who for a long time have spoken the language of war to rally their supporters towards a cause.

The leaders made war-like pronouncements to urge villagers to invade farms 10 years ago.

They have described political opponents ahead of elections as traitors and enemies of the state who must be exterminated.

The indigenisation drive has also been expressed in the same tone.

Violence is required to get back what is rightfully ours, appears to be the refrain in those leaders’ war cry.

It is therefore not surprising that the simple dispute around market stalls in Mbare was “resolved” through violence.

The perpetrators of the violence do not see anything wrong with their actions. They have been schooled to believe that violence is necessary; it solves all problems.

There are fears that events which occurred in Mbare this week could be replayed in many other centres throughout the country as long as authorities do not move swiftly to nip the cancer in the bud.

A key benchmark of the success of the Global Political Agreement is peace, which the inclusive government sought to achieve through the Organ on National Healing, Reconciliation and Intergration.

The coalition government has failed to achieve peace; there is no national healing to talk about as reflected in recent pronouncements by political leaders and the subsequent actions of their supporters.

We are our own worst enemy.

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