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Elections: Are the monsters back?

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Media reports that political parties are now in full throttle campaigns in preparation for elections must have sent shivers down the spines of many.

The word campaign brings to many horrific images that include broken limbs, displacements, intimidation, rape, torture, detention and victimisation.

Zimbabwe, since 1980, has never experienced peaceful polls. Clueless politicians, particularly from Zanu PF and with the help of partisan security forces, have perfected the art of forcing themselves onto the people through violence.

The situation is compounded by the slow pace at which reforms for setting conditions for free and fair polls are moving.

The deliberate resistance by politicians — particularly those in Zanu PF, who want to maintain the status quo for their advantage — to implement reforms, is a sure sign that the election period will just be a replica of the past experiences where violence ruled the roost.

We have seen people engaging in violent activities with impunity and this should be taken as an omen for things to come during the campaign period.

What makes the situation more frightening is that politicians whose parties instigate violence against their opponents preach peace by day and violence by night.

The recent “peace pact” by the two MDCs and President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF should be hardly viewed as genuine in light of previous experiences where the President himself preaches peace while thugs from his party would be busy bashing the daylights out of their political opponents.

And to make matters worse, no place is sacred to their thuggery, including Parliament. If such things occur at places like Parliament Building, what more in Mbare, Mabvuku or St Mary’s during a campaign period?

Throw in a partisan police force into the equation and you have a cocktail for disaster. We have already seen that political instability is gradually on the rise and the police are becoming more and more partisan. So, to hear that political parties are stepping a gear up in their campaign is the saddest news every Zimbabwean would want to hear.

It is like hearing that the monsters are back again. And the political monsters are keenly throwing spanners into the works for reforms that would ensure free and fair polls for political survival.

Election periods in this country bring out the worst in our politicians and the majority hate these periods like a plague. We get the sense that because of the lack of reforms, political parties are gearing themselves not for peace, but for violence and dispute.

It is hard to imagine that elections held under the current conditions can be peaceful, and wide of dispute. It is also hard to imagine that if Zanu PF lose they will accept defeat.

If they refused to accept defeat before, what makes the nation confident that they will accept defeat in future? The majority therefore would rather suffer under the current conditions than to go through another turbulent election period that will make them lose limb and life.

Election talk only benefits politicians as they find it as a means to massage their egos.
What we need in this country is peace first and elections last.

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