MDC-T Senator Morgan Komichi has called on ex-combatants to wean off the “violence tag” and take the lead in preaching peace to ensure a violence-free 2018 general election.
By NQOBANI NDLOVU
War veterans stand accused of orchestrating election-related violence particularly against opposition supporters, but Komichi said Zimbabwe needs peace as the nation heads towards the much anticipated polls.
Recently held by-elections saw election related violence rear its ugly head, and the clergy, opposition and human rights activists warn this is a precursor to the 2018 poll.
Komichi argued it will, however, be a blessing if freedom fighters started preaching peace.
“We are saying, if the freedom fighters are talking of peace, this will be a blessing. It will be a blessing to Zimbabwe to hear a freedom fighter saying during campaigns we want peace and tolerance. Through that action and adoption of peace, Zimbabwe is going to develop.
“We will all be one family and there will not be any divisions. When we go to elections and whosoever wins because there has been peace, there will not be any fights because the campaigns and elections will be done peacefully,” Komichi told Senators during his contribution on a motion on measures to curb violence perpetrated by political parties.
The country’s elections have since 1980 been marred with election-related violence, with the ruling Zanu PF standing accused of being the main perpetrators.
In 2008, MDC T leader, Morgan Tsvangirai had to pull out of a presidential run-off election against President Robert Mugabe following a wave of violence that left several opposition supporters dead or nursing injuries, with scores also forced to flee their homes. War veterans were accused of having a hand in the violence.
Komichi also pleaded with the police not to allow election-related violence by protecting or not arresting the perpetrators.
“If we talk to our children who would have noticed some violence being perpetrated by the freedom fighters, the children will equate freedom fighters with violence. We are saying, if we were being violent during the campaign and election periods, please let us carry out that in peace.
“I will now turn to the other group which should be helping in keeping peace in the country. The police, through the Commissioner General, should enforce the adoption of peace in the country. In their operations, they should listen to the voice from the churches, the voice from their leaders and the freedom fighters that there should be peace. I am pleading with the chiefs, the freedom fighters and the people of Zimbabwe; let us spread love, peace and happiness in Zimbabwe,” Komichi added.