HomeOpinion & AnalysisColumnistsIs this truly the Zimbabwe that we yearn for?

Is this truly the Zimbabwe that we yearn for?

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Surely a senior politician should not openly defend actions by political party hooligans who violently disrupted the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission Bill hearings this week?

This is really frightening. The hooligans beat up an MP and assaulted a handful of journalists who had come to cover proceedings of this very important Bill.

The MP was accused of not singing the national anthem as if it is criminal not to. It would seem as if Zanu PF supporters have failed to distinguish national matters from party functions.

I am however livid by the fact women also participated in these violent clashes.

These women were obviously not acting of their own accord because most of them could not even articulate what the Bill was all about. In fact, they did not know why they had been bused to parliament.
At least three women from Mbare Musika admitted that they had been forced to close their stalls for this particular assignment.

I also witnessed hooliganism at its worst early this year at Granville Cemetery where I had gone to pay my last respects to an acquaintance who was also a district youth chairman for Zanu PF.

Dozens of minibuses had been forced to ferry mourners to the burial from Ushewokunze Housing Cooperative where the deceased lived.

In fact, relatives and friends stood aside as they watched the drama unfold at this final resting place.
The youths were visibly under the influence of some drug or alcohol because their behaviour was unbearable.

The burial which had been allocated only one hour took five hours. Some relatives left in anger as they had no control of what was happening and those that remained watched proceedings in dismay.
I actually saw one youth urinating on a grave.

As if that was not enough, the youths grabbed a canvas awning at a grave for an elderly woman whose body was ready for burial and dashed with it to the grave where the youth chairman was being buried.
Another group decided to mete out instant justice on three youths who were wearing red T shirts, accusing them of being members of the opposition party MDC- T. They were beaten badly and left for dead.

There was total mayhem in the name of Zanu PF.
A gravedigger was also beaten badly and reports I received a few days later indicated that he had battled for his life at a local hospital. I wouldn’t be surprised if this gravedigger is no more.

Just like their counterparts who disrupted proceedings at Parliament, these mourners had been forcibly bused from various areas in Harare. Mbare Musika and Mupedzanhamo markets were closed as stall owners were forced against their will to attend the burial of this youth chairman.

Resisting the move may have resulted in being expelled from the market.

Is this truly the Zimbabwe that we yearn for?
And what can stop these hooligans from attacking us in our private spaces?

It was refreshing to hear senators from the political divide condemning violence which they solely blamed on politicians who are using youths to punish their opponents.

They also noted that elections should be held in a peaceful environment and that political parties should respect whosoever wins.

But we all know what happened during the 2008 elections. Many people were murdered, maimed and women raped.

It is most disturbing to understand the reason why Mutasa decided to make such a statement when the electorate is yet to heal from the scars of the 2008 elections.

These utterances were foolish for a man of his age and status who should be nurturing the youth to become mature leaders who will not take violence as a tool to stay in power.

It is not surprising that this is the very same man whose supporters attacked an aspiring Zanu PF candidate in Makoni North, Manicaland a few years ago.

Mutasa’s followers assaulted James Kaunye, who wanted to wrestle the Makoni North seat from him.
Kaunye was left naked after the attack and later admitted to Rusape General Hospital after he sustained serious injuries to the head and a suspected broken rib. Kaunye’s assailants were arrested.

Mutasa is said to have paid bail for them.
And indeed Mutasa has come out loud and clear that he will defend hooliganism by party members.
Instigators of political violence have often used youths as foot soldiers who are later prosecuted for perpetrating violence while the instigators themselves have not been held accountable for their involvement in the violence.

Scrupulous prosecution of the instigators of violence is just as vital as prosecution of perpetrators.

The politics of this country has gone haywire and I dread to imagine what the future holds for these violent youths. This is just dreadful.

Feedback:rmapimhidze@newsday.co.zw

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