ELSEWHERE in this edition, we have carried a story where Kuwadzana East legislator, Nelson Chamisa (MDC-T) implores President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Parliament to take decisive action to end the scourge of political violence, which has reared its ugly head ahead of this year’s elections.
Chamisa’s concern is not misplaced and we need not emphasise that the time to act is now before the election roadmap gets littered with blood, broken legs and limbs.
Besides, the bloodshed that is normally associated with political violence, there is the unnecessary loss of property, internal displacements and relational damage.
It’s an open secret that the culture of political intolerance, though primitive and undemocratic, has become the hallmark of Zimbabwean politics, that is why all our elections since independence, have never produced credible results.
We believe that Mnangagwa’s commitment to a return to democracy will usher a new era of tolerance, where political violence will be considered an anathema and the culprits severely punished.
Just a few months ago, political parties signed a pact providing for disqualification of actors seen as inciting violence before, during and after an election.
Our fear is that that document might be gathering dust somewhere without any efforts, from the powers-that-be, to revisit and implement its noble recommendations.
The recent callous attacks on National People’s Party (NPP) leader, Joice Mujuru and Epworth MP Zalerah Makari are a sad reminder that the country is fast sliding back to the dark era, where political differences are settled violently.
These two cases and several others, especially relating to intimidation of voters by traditional leaders, present an opportunity for Mnangagwa and his Zanu PF administration to show that they are cut from a different cloth from his indifferent predecessor, Robert Mugabe.
The whole world is watching and the government can only ignore these incidents at its own peril.
All Mnangagwa needs to do is decree a non-violent election campaign and descend heavily on the perpetrators.
The political credibility that Mnangagwa is vying for will remain a mirage if he remains cocooned in denial mode, pretending the violence reports carried by the media are a figment of their imagination.
Thousands in the opposition bear scars and many have died from State-backed terror acts in previous elections, and no one in their right senses would wish for a repeat of those sad episodes.
This is the time for all State security apparatuses to show the world that they are non-partisan and committed to call of duty.