HomeLocal NewsMugabe peace pleas deceitful - analysts

Mugabe peace pleas deceitful – analysts

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POLITICAL analysts have described President Robert Mugabe’s recent peace call as insincere given it came at a time when his party supporters have reportedly scaled up a violent campaign against the opposition throughout the country.

Report by Wonai Masvingise

On Monday, Mugabe made a passionate plea for tolerance and co-existence among political party supporters. He made the remarks in his speech at the burial of Higher and Tertiary Education minister Stan Mudenge at the National Heroes’ Acre in Harare.

Recent reports from peace advocacy group, the Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) and election watchdog, Zimbabwe Electoral Support Network (Zesn), indicated a sharp increase in cases of violence spearheaded by suspected Zanu PF supporters.

According to the ZPP report released in June, cases of politically-motivated violence rose from 475 in March to 524 in April this year. Zesn also reported a resurgence of militia groups ahead of the constitutional referendum and elections likely to be held next year.

Part of the Zesn reports says: “Observers have reported a worrisome feature of some form of youth militia being recruited and trained in their constituencies. This was reported in 8% of the constituencies particularly in parts of Mashonaland Central and Mashonaland West.”
The two provinces are known Zanu PF strongholds.

“Seventeen percent of observers have reported some youth militia activities in their constituencies, characterised by marching and singing revolutionary songs in the early morning hours.
“This has served to intimidate residents and remind them that violence can be unleashed on them if they hold divergent views,” Zesn said.
Zanu PF aligned Mbare militia group — Chipangano — has been spearheading a spate of violent activities in the capital with impunity despite Mugabe’s repeated calls for an end to violence.
Last year, at the official opening of the Seventh Parliament, Mugabe was preaching peace inside Parliament Building yet just outside, an alleged Zanu PF youth militia group was literally turning the Africa Unity Square into a battleground.

MDC-T spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora said although Mugabe always spoke against violence, he never ensured that perpetrators were brought to book.

“Mugabe always speaks against violence, but never goes ahead to say what will happen to perpetrators of violence,” Mwonzora said.
“He has never called for the arrests of those perpetrators nor has he ever openly instructed the police and other law enforcement agencies to decisively deal with perpetrators of violence. His words are simply hollow platitudes. They are devoid of any serious meaning..

“Further, police have not been arresting the perpetrators of violence, including the people who attacked Members of Parliament during the Presidential address to Parliament and those who overran Parliament during the public hearings on the Human Rights Bill.”
MDC deputy spokesperson Kurauone Chihwayi accused Mugabe of not clamping down on party bigwigs who incited violence.

“We have said it and we will still repeat it that Zanu PF is the most violent political party within the inclusive government,” said Chihwayi, adding: “If Mugabe is sincere in his calls against violence, he should disband Chipangano.”

Political analyst Ernest Mudzengi said Mugabe’s utterances displayed that he was either insincere or he did not have control over Zanu PF officials accused of perpetrating violence.

Another political analyst Brian Ngwenya said Mugabe could be sincere, but was being let down by his party leadership.

“It is a reflection of the contradiction of Zanu PF as an entity where the centre can no longer hold,” said Ngwenya.

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