Zanu PF youths must be reined in

Zanu PF youths continue to be a law unto themselves much to the detriment of, not only their party’s image, but also that of the country as a whole.

NewsDay Editorial

Zimbabwe has not quite emerged from the dark period of lawlessness that characterised it in the first 10 years of the new millennium.

During that period, the concept of the rule of law — the foundation of all civilised conduct the world over — was decimated in pursuit of a political agenda that left the country ostracised by the international community.

Zanu PF has justified the lawlessness of that period by citing historical imbalances that had to be corrected. These included the skewed ownership of the land by the white population, which at 4 000 people, was miniscule compared to a dozen million blacks.

Historians will one day evaluate the effects and effectiveness of the use of lawlessness to achieve a political end, but suffice to say, at this juncture, all progressive Zimbabweans and the international community were beginning to hope that sad chapter was safely behind us.

But the small pockets of lawlessness witnessed in the past few weeks are portentous.

Three of these come to mind immediately.

After the much-publicised skirmishes between an apostolic sect in Budiriro, Harare, in which a stick of police officers was overpowered and beaten up by congregants, the youths took it upon themselves to exact revenge on the church members.

Some 100 of them raided and burned the shrine of Johane Masowe weChishanu leader Madzibaba Ishamel Mufani.

Not only was this manifestly extrajudicial, it was also a blatant show of lawlessness sanctioned by the very police force that should bring order.

The law-breaking brigands were accompanied by police details much to the surprise of the general population and those in the international community with an interest in the normalisation of the Zimbabwe situation.

As if taking a cue from the Budiriro incident, houses belonging to four leaders of the Johane Masowe yeVadzidzi in Gomo village, Mashonaland Central, were razed by Zanu PF supporters who accused them of wielding too much political influence in the area.

A petition written by villagers, most of them known Zanu PF supporters, alleged that the four had become so powerful as to influence political decisions of their legion of followers, hence the decision to evict them.

Police are still to comment on this illegal act, let alone make an arrest.

On Monday, the Zanu PF youths blocked more than a thousand informal traders at the Glen View home industries from accessing the factory shells where they eke out a living by manufacturing household furniture for sale.

The traders’ crime was that they had shunned the burial of a Zanu PF member who had been declared a hero by the party and was buried at the national shrine.

All this political hooliganism seems to be sanctioned from right at the top, for it is consistent with President Robert Mugabe’s pronouncements especially on issues to do with the grabbing of land from white farmers who legitimately own it purely on a racist basis.

It is high time the rule of law was re-established in Zimbabwe since this kind of lawlessness stands in the way of progress.

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