OPPOSITION political parties and other interest groups yesterday condemned the use of violence against political opponents, describing the mysterious explosion that hit a Zanu PF campaign rally at White City Stadium on Saturday, injuring 49 party and State security officials, as uncalled for given that the country was just a few weeks away from the July 30 general elections.
BY SILAS NKALA
The incident happened shortly after President Emmerson Mnangagwa had finished addressing the gathering.
In a message posted on his Facebook wall soon after the incident, Mnangagwa said: “Let us continue to be united and address our differences peacefully. The strongest response to violence is peace. The strongest response to hate is love. God Bless Zimbabwe.”
Vice-President Kembo Mohadi, Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga’s wife Marry, Zanu PF national chairperson Oppah Muchinguri and Zanu PF national commissar Engelbert Rugeje, were among some of the injured.
MDC Alliance presidential candidate Nelson Chamisa said on Twitter: “Our prayers go out to the injured and we hope no lives have been lost. Violence must have no place in our politics.”
MDC spokesperson Kurauone Chihwayi, in a statement yesterday, said: “Politics of the gun should never be used as an alternative means of expression in a healthy democracy. We pray for the speedy recovery of all the injured and call for the security forces to get to the bottom of this atrocious incident. We condemn all acts of political violence and implore on Zanu PF to deal with its internal issues in a peaceful manner without endangering the lives of citizens.”
He added: “We have always warned that military rule is a bad idea for Zimbabwe and barely a month to elections, we have been dealt a sneak preview of what will happen if Zimbabweans allow the military to get into power.”
People’s Democratic Party spokesperson Fortune Mlalazi said the attack was a serious threat to the country’s peaceful campaign.
“It is an issue that intimidates people considering where we are coming from. So we urge the government to take appropriate action and also we want to encourage Zanu PF to deal with their issues peacefully without the issue of violence,” Mlalazi said.
“If we continue with the same violence that is within Zanu PF, it will spill out and affect ordinary citizens. We therefore, urge Zanu PF and its leadership to deal with their internal issues peacefully without use of violence.”
Mthwakazi Republic Party spokesperson Mbonisi Gumbo said Zanu PF must stop dragging Bulawayo residents into its violence.
“The general public feeling is that the bombing or whatever incident has nothing to do with the opposition parties, particularly our party, but it is a Zanu PF internal matter, probably coming from the disgruntled Zanu PF primary elections losers and or the very presidium fighting for control; of Zanu PF and government,” Gumbo said.
“It is public knowledge that the Bible says those who live by the sword will die by the sword. This is the reason why Mnangagwa and Chiwenga and their Zanu PF must be voted out to avoid a situation where a Gukurahundi style is repeated.”
Chimurenga musician Thomas Mapfumo tweeted from his base in the US: “No matter what, let’s shun violence in Zimbabwe. We need to find common ground and non-violent ways to resolve issues. We condemn violence.”
Former Vice-President and opposition People’s Rainbow Coalition presidential candidate Joice Mujuru said: “Peace, peace should continue in Zimbabwe. It is unfortunate to hear what happened at White City Stadium. We continue praying for our nation, Zimbabwe to be peaceful and resolve our issues peaceful.”
Prominent writer, Tsitsi Dangarembga also took to social media to condemn the violent act.
“If two people died in today (Saturday)’s blast, this is a tragedy. The bombing itself is a tragedy. Every loss of, or attempt to take or harm life, is tragic.
Unresolved tragedies, including historical ones, cause further tragedies. Let’s adopt a policy of no Zimbabwean unaccounted for, ever.”
The United States and Britain were also among countries that condemned the explosion.