Election violence not welcome


MDC-T’s Bulawayo provincial elections have been marred by violence, while disturbances have also been reported in Masvingo province among others ahead of the party’s elective congress on Thursday.

Party leader Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai had to stamp his authority, threatening unruly senior party apparatchiks running camps with expulsion.

This was the tonic needed to quell the violence within political parties, more so, MDC-T whose spokesperson Nelson Chamisa refers to as “a party of excellence”.

Whether it is a party of excellence or not is neither here nor there. But what we know for sure is we can never trust the humankind, for whenever he has power over another they tend to mistreat them.

At a time when Tsvangirai had successfully quelled violence in the faction-hit Bulawayo province last night, indications were that the battle for the control of the “party of excellence’s” Women Assembly looked set to take a nasty twist amid reports those eyeing the post being held by Home Affairs co-minister and chairperson, Theresa Makone had received death threats.

It might be pertinent to say that Makone is pitted against Lucia Matibenga, Evelyn Masaiti and Editor Matamisa for the leadership of the assembly.
Two things are likely – that Makone may have been framed by her opponents or not.

We wonder whether her power to commandeer party thugs or is real or imagined. While it is possible to defend Makone, we wonder why her opponents have waited until now to raise these issues.

Senseless violence has marred previous elections in the country before and after as parties jostled to psychologically control the electorate.

Zimbabweans are accustomed to one party with degrees in violence at least as confirmed by President Robert Mugabe two years ago. Hence we wonder, whether the “party of excellence” as they prefer to call themselves have imported skills from that well-known political party with violence degrees. The difference though is that the two – President Mugabe and PM Tsvangirai have different views on violence.

The country has had a series of violent elections, but the disputed poll in 2008 saw the country taken to the brink of civil war.

There were revenge attacks, with long-standing political and economic rivalries ignited by political divisions.

Communities turned on each other with crude weapons as they were encouraged, and even paid, by power-hungry politicians.

Good enough, last night Tsvangirai quelled rampant violence in the troubled Bulawayo province. The electorate has been wondering whether he also condoned the use of excessive power over weaker party apparatchiks or not. This act alone, means a lot to poor Zimbabweans and party supporters in the countryside, and is a sign of a mature politician, who would not broke any nonsense even when his close associates are involved in these mindless acts or not.

On his party President Mugabe has been calling for peaceful campaigns, and urging party youths and supporters, who reportedly ransacked the streets of Harare at the beginning of the year to desist from their acts. Unfortunately the youths were not reprimanded and or arrested.

Most Zimbabweans feel Tsvangirai must investigate the origins of violence within the party and mete justice as it is a vital precursor to undermine the deeply rooted culture of impunity, in Zimbabwean politics.

The key question now is whether those accused will hand themselves over or be shielded by top politicians and evade justice.

Indeed, one of the main complaints from all parties entangled in the violence is that messages, whether clearly stated or implied, have been misinterpreted, misunderstood, taken out of context, exaggerated, ignored or simply lost.

In the cacophony of voices on the issue, it is perhaps not surprising that some feel they are not being heard properly. Inevitably, given there may be national elections this year, there is speculation that the overcharged debate about how much ideological violence motivates crimes against Zimbabweans may have more to do with the fight for political survival than a humanitarian concern for the victims of crime.

At the core of this debate is confusion.
As the country drifts towards an election, later in the year, political party supporters must simply take heed of Guruve South MP Edward Chindori-Chininga’s anti-violence message.

It is barbaric for anyone to risk life and limp fighting for personal and political ambitions of politicians.
If it is true that Makone threatened opponents, her supporters should be reminded that no one should face death from a bullet or violence or suffer bodily harm in order to achieve the ambition of a politician to gain personal political power.

Who would have thought that MDC-T, Zanu PF and MDC-N would unite to form a unity government with the kind of violence witnessed in the country? Does Zimbabwe need this?

Politicians must be mature enough to shake their hands after an election. Accept defeat and pave way for the winner.

Zimbabweans are one bound together, but who have the liberty to choose to commit themselves to political parties based on particular beliefs.

But having competing ideas and political parties does not mean they should be enemies.

In essence, isn’t elections are about gauging one’s popularity, hence the electorate has to choose whether to vote or not, and not coerced by acts of violence.

Email: mdzungairi@newsday.co.zw