Barely a week after a visit to Zimbabwe by South Africa President Jacob Zuma’s envoys engaged on the mediation process in Zimbabwe, the fragile peace achieved under the Global Political Agreement (GPA) has been jolted by reports of violence in various parts of Harare, mainly by Zanu PF supporters.
Zanu PF supporters on Friday reportedly invaded Town House in Harare and also beat up shoppers.
The violent party activists were protesting the slashing of maize in the capital by council officials.
There were also reports over the weekend that suspected Zanu PF supporters attacked and severely damaged the house of an MDC-T councillor in Budiriro.
More sporadic reports of violence have been recorded in Chitungwiza, Mbare and several parts of the city.
Zanu PF supporters and war veterans have reportedly also started to invade private properties around Lake Chivero on the western outskirts of the capital
The reports of violence come barely a week after the visit by Zuma’s International Affairs advisor Lindiwe Zulu and South Africa’s ambassador to Zimbabwe Mlungisi Makalima met officials from the two MDC formations and Zanu PF.
The negotiating team has promised to put in place a roadmap before elections which President Mugabe said could take place this year.
At the meetings the MDC formations presented their usual inventory of problems mainly stemming from their frustration with President Mugabe’s alleged reluctance to implement agreed issues relating to the GPA.
While it is worrying that the GPA has not been fully consummated because of the so-called outstanding issues, it is the spectre of violence that is most worrying.
Events over the weekend aptly demonstrated the ease with which instruments of violence can be scrambled and put to work.
Concerns had always been raised that groups responsible for planning and executing the violence that tore the country in 2008 have largely remained intact, notwithstanding the formation of the government of national unity (GNU).
Zanu PF’s instruments of coercion are at work. There is no better way to reflect on the malfunction of the GNU than its failure to dismantle centres of violence and its inability to create institutions that deal decisively with violence.
The GNU’s attempt at ameliorating violence, the formation of the Organ of National Healing Integration and Reconciliation as a vehicle to achieving lasting peace, has been a monumental failure.
What can it say about the current violence let alone do to the perpetrators?
There is no national healing to talk about in this country.
We still live in a fractious society where desperate political leaders have exploited political fault lines to sponsor unrest.
This has to stop because it should be obvious to them that violence is a clear and present danger to the well-being of this society.
Political violence was one of the major reasons this country broke down and degenerated into grinding poverty.
This is the time for wise political leaders in this country to stand up and denounce violence.
The long-in-coming roadmap by Zuma’s team must deal with violence and expose the centres of the madness.
We are in big trouble as a nation as long as we allow leaders who thrive on violence to lead us.