Insincerity, mistrust and scepticism threaten to scuttle a recent peace pact among the three main political parties in the unstable inclusive government amid reports of fingerpointing and accusations of deceit.
On Thursday, the two MDC formations accused Zanu PF of not being genuine in its pledge to end politically-motivated violence while the revolutionary party insists President Robert Mugabe meant every word he said.
This comes in the wake of utterances by Zanu PF national chairman and Zimbabwe’s former ambassador to South Africa, Simon Khaya Moyo, that party supporters should retaliate if attacked instead of urging them to immediately report acts of violence to the police.
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC-T and the smaller faction of the MDC led by Welshman Ncube said following Khaya Moyo’s remarks in the Midlands recently, they now viewed President Mugabe and Zanu PF, who have in the past been blamed for widespread violence, with mistrust and doubted their commitment to end skirmishes.
MDC-T spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora told journalists in Harare on Wednesday that President Mugabe was known for not walking the talk.
Mwonzora said the real Zanu PF position on violence was revealed by Khaya Moyo during his recent speech in Gweru.
“President Mugabe has spoken more eloquently than what he did last week castigating violence,” Mwonzora said.
“I was in Parliament when he spoke the other time and I am one of the many people who asked him to repeat himself, but while he was denouncing violence, Jim Kunaka (Zanu PF Harare provincial youth chairperson) and his people beat up members of the public and police officers outside Parliament Building.”
But top Zanu PF politicians Rugare Gumbo (national spokesperson) and Didymus Mutasa (secretary for administration) shot back, saying President Mugabe and Zanu PF were true to their word in ending violence.
“Have they ever seen the President holding sticks and logs beating up people?” Mutasa retorted. “How do they think that way? He did his job and told all the people to stop violence, then they say he is not sincere.”
He went on: “If anyone is seen perpetrating violence in Zanu PF, that person will be summoned for a disciplinary hearing for defying the President.”
Gumbo weighed in: “It’s not a matter of trust or no trust. It’s a matter of working together to stop violence in the country. People have to make an effort to stop violence in the country.”
Kurauone Chihwayi, spokesperson for the Ncube-led MDC formation, said: “President Mugabe should control people like Khaya Moyo if he is committed to creating a conducive environment for free and fair elections.”
Last week, President Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Ncube joined hands and denounced violence.
President Mugabe said during the indaba, prompted by countrywide violence that rocked many cities, that police should not behave as people’s enemies and spoke at length about reconciliation and peace.
Tsvangirai and Ncube echoed the same sentiments, but their parties have made a volte-face following Khaya Moyo’s remarks.
What irked the two MDCs is when Khaya Moyo said: “Let us desist from political violence and be peaceful. But if we are attacked, we are left with no choice, but to retaliate. We cannot afford to watch them as they attack us. We will also fight back.”
He reiterated that position on Wednesday, saying: “Surely if one is attacked, is one expected to kneel and pray hoping that one will eventually report the matter to the police? I suppose even the dead are expected to report to the police after such attacks as per the gospel of NewsDay.”
Khaya Moyo was responding to a NewsDay editorial criticising the Zanu PF chairman’s “eye-for-an-eye” approach to dealing with political violence instead of reporting crimes of a political nature to the police.