THE intra-party violence rearing its ugly in the main opposition party founded by the late Zimbabwean premier Morgan Tsvangirai is a cause for concern, and should jolt the new leadership into action, to quash all forms of violence.
This is regrettable, given that Zimbabwe is readying for elections in which incumbent President Emmerson Mnangagwa has promised would be free, fair, credible and peaceful in the next few months.
The scenes of violence captured at the MDC-T offices in Bulawayo yesterday must never be tolerated regardless of the circumstances under which they ocurred. Zimbabweans should agree to disagree to hold divergent views.
We urge the police to deal decisively with political players stoking violence ahead of the watershed election in the next few months.
As the country readies for elections, political parties should take a leading role in campaigning for peace and tolerance. It is unfortunate that the succession wrangle in the MDC-T could jeopardise an otherwise peaceful electoral campaigning period in the country.
Given that the biggest opposition party has made a decision to appoint a new leader Nelson Chamisa, it should be common sense that vice-presidents Thokozani Khupe and Elias Mudzuri be content with the new order. Not because they are incompetent, but simply to reunite the fractured opposition party ahead of the polls.
What is more disturbing is what seems to be a streak of violence connected to the MDC-T using the so called ‘Vanguard’ built in the mould of Zanu PF’s Chipangano that terrorised Harare residents, since the turn of the century.
We must hasten, however, to warn Chamisa, Khupe and their hangers on or anybody in the opposition for that matter that they could be playing with a vampire they may not be able to exorcise going forward.
Remember when former President Robert Mugabe infamously declared he had degrees in violence, he may not have been referring to himself at a personal level. He may have meant he had the institutions of violence under his thumb. These institutions did not dissolve into thin air with Mugabe’s fall last November. Mnangagwa also inherited these and more. Ironically, the same structures hounded Mugabe out of power to his disbelief.
We are, however, heartened by the fact that Mnangagwa has consistently been preaching peace and calling for credible, free and fair elections. We all hope he keeps his word, because this country needs a break.
While Khupe is currently playing victim, it is common knowledge that she also used to unleash her equally violent youth against perceived competition during Tsvangirai’s leadership. Tsvangirai could not attend the late Nkulumane MP Thamsanqa Mhlangu’s funeral for fear of being waylaid by Khupe’s alleged militia.
The MDC-T’s history of violence and its failure to deal with the scourge is shocking. The party could actually be inherently violent, but because of the goodwill built within the public, given Zanu PF’s excesses we might all have unwittingly condoned it. It’s time we call a spade a spade and Chamisa needs to wake up and smell the coffee. Zimbabwe deserves better than this.
It is clear that if we want Zimbabweans and the world to accept the election results without any reservations, then leaders should become peacemakers rather than warmongers.
If it is true that Khupe wanted to launch her political party yesterday, then she could have done it better by choosing peace and doing it elsewhere and not confrontation.
These leaders should do away with violence and look forward to uniting the nation — a country of armed militias is not what we want now. A copycat of Zanu PF is not the kind of government our citizens deserve. Not now, not ever!