SADC Heads of State and Government fly into a storm in Harare this week starting today to find answers to key regional questions — industrial development, political violence in Zimbabwe and xenophobic attacks in South Africa.
The regional leaders are expected to have a tough call given the way President Jacob Zuma has handled xenophobic attacks on foreigners in his country.
Zimbabwe, which chairs both Sadc and African Union, could feature prominently as political violence has reared its ugly face ahead of the June 10 parliamentary by-elections, with Zanu PF fighting to grab all the 18 vacant seats across the country.
Regrettably, last Thursday MDC-T MP for Budiriro, Costa Machingauta, and 10 other party activists were savagely attacked by suspected ruling Zanu PF party youths in the high-density suburb, and a day later Zanu PF launched its election campaign.
Yesterday, thousands of Zanu PF functionaries disrupted a church service at the Anglican Church in Chitungwiza to coerce them to hand over their land for parcelling as residential stands to home-seekers.
What a circus? This has far-reaching effects on the wellbeing of the country, its standing on the international arena and President Robert Mugabe’s image. The hosting of the Sadc Summit would have been a befitting finale for Mugabe, but not with political violence blighting his chairmanship.
Zanu PF foot soldiers are doing all this oblivious of the fact that Zimbabwe is hosting other international events such as Harare International Festival of the Arts starting tomorrow and the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair in Bulawayo, which will be opened by Zambian leader Edgar Lungu later this week.
It is unthinkable that because of the by-elections, there is political tension and violence in the country. Zanu PF politicians are using any means to get into power and as has been the norm, this has usually been made manifest during election period when various forms of election malpractices become the order of the day.
There is the election rigging, intimidation and threats to opponents, assault, assassination, harassment, maiming and killing. Hence the Budiriro case is not a new phenomenon — thuggery, brutality and violent political behaviour have been with us since independence and have been used to secure Mugabe’s long stay in power.
Is it not ironic that Mugabe will be put in the dock for allowing party activists to undermine the rule of law through violence and grabbing of private property?
It is unfortunate that some Zanu PF politicians make use of youths that are supposed to serve as future leaders for their questionable activities. One wonders why Mugabe’s Zanu PF uses these young people for political intimidation, harassment and even assassination of political opponents. It is important that this Zanu PF political thuggery is checked for us to have a more sustainable democracy that can breed a government of the people, for the people and by the people. We yearn for a time when we will have leaders that are no longer imposed on us because of the activities of hooligans and nefarious activities.
Mugabe must put policies that put a stop to nurturing and breeding of political thugs and gangsters by desperate and unscrupulous politicians. Zanu PF must not put Zimbabwe on spotlight for wrong reasons.