THE violent scenes witnessed at the late MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s burial are a sad reminder that we are yet to turn the corner in our quest for democracy. It’s quite unfathomable that rogue party youth would have the courage to pursue their factional fights at a funeral, where naturally everyone is presumed to be mourning.
The unprovoked physical attack on MDC-T vice-president, Thokozani Khupe, secretary-general, Douglas Mwonzora and organising secretary, Abednico Bhebhe, in Buhera on Tuesday cannot go unchallenged, lest it sets a bad precedent and dents this year’s election roadmap.
The 100 or so rogue MDC-T youths, we are told, had the audacity to even threaten to burn the hut where the trio had sought refuge.
Our appeal to the MDC-T leadership is they should urgently convene a crisis meeting to investigate the matter and exorcise the spirit of violence from among their supporters, or else the electorate will lump them in the same basket, as their Zanu PF counterparts.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa, even if we may be sceptical, has publicly condemned all forms of violence – whether inter- or intra-party – and declared that the run-up to this year’s general election should be peaceful. All political players should heed the message and let it cascade down to their supporters.
What is more worrying in the Khupe case is that this is the second attack in less than a year. The outcome of the probe into the first attack at the party’s Bulawayo provincial offices last year has not been made public and neither were the perpetrators brought to book.
It would appear both violence cases were sponsored to send a message that Khupe should quit the Tsvangirai succession race and let “those ordained” to run do so uncontested.
The nation still has vivid memories of how former MDC-T deputy treasurer-general, Elton Mangoma, and many others were hounded out of the opposition party by these goons in 2014. So, it defeats all purpose for the MDC-T to preach democracy and tolerance during the day and do the opposite when night falls.
Besides causing unnecessary bodily harm and property damage, violence leads to high levels of psychological trauma. Violence also has a long-term bearing on the credibility of the polls, regardless of which party eventually wins them.
After all, why resort to violence when the electorate can easily be won over by a well-packaged political message? Food for thought!