President Robert Mugabe on Monday literally gave the thumbs-up to violence, anarchy and murder, when he said all locals implicated in the killings of white farmers during the land reform programme would not be prosecuted.
Mugabe said Zimbabwe would never prosecute those implicated because they killed white farmers, who were resisting the land reform exercise.
Whatever the circumstances, there can be no justification for murder and Mugabe could have opened the door for lawlessness, as more killings can be done in the name of government policy and those implicated could say they did it because the victims were resisting the policy.
This sets a very dangerous precedent, as Zimbabwe has a chequered record when it comes to extra-judicial killings.
There have been many reported cases of violence where the police did not act because it was politically-inexpedient to do so.
With Mugabe’s utterances, we can expect an increase in the number of cases where Zanu PF officials and State security agents are accused of crime and there will be no investigation.
This does not bode well as we head into an election year, as past elections have proven to be violent and this has been accompanied by impunity.
This is a throwback to the dark days of the 1990s, where, for example, the late Patrick Kombayi was shot in broad daylight in a brazen attempt on his life, but Mugabe immediately pardoned the perpetrators when they were jailed.
This sent a message that violence perpetrated in the name of Zanu PF and government was excusable.
Instead, what Mugabe and his government should be preaching is that even if there is resistance to government programmes, there is no need to resort to violence and instead the law should be followed, with the dissenters brought to court and jailed.
Mugabe often preaches peace these days, but his statement on Heroes Day seems to suggest he is not genuine and he will justify violence if it suits his ends.
Murder and violence cannot be justified under any circumstances and Zimbabwe should pride itself in observing the rule of law, rather than bending the rules when it so desires.
In a country where the law almost always follows politics, we are guaranteed that there will be no justice for all the white farmers who were killed at the turn of the millennium.
Mugabe should genuinely preach peace and justice rather than impunity.