THE cowardly grenade attack on Saturday at President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s campaign rally in Bulawayo is most regrettable and must be strongly condemned for what it is, especially for a country with no history of such attacks.
While various theories are being bandied forth, we wish a speedy recovery to those who were injured in that senseless act of violence.
Whatever the reasons for the attack, this cannot be justified under any circumstances. Barring everything else, this attack has hallmarks of an internal job, whoever that may be, but we commend Mnangagwa for exercising restraint in dealing with the matter. We have no doubt that the situation is under control, and with time, the plotters could be exposed for what they are.
What is disturbing is the fact the grenade attack comes against the backdrop of Mnangagwa calling citizens to exercise restraint before, during and after the July 30 elections.
Mnangagwa’s call for peace must be heeded, as no one would want to see this isolated dastardly act spread across the nation.
We urge the police to do a thorough job to bring to book any malcontents within and without the system bent on destabilising the country’s peace.
Curiously, Mnangagwa has endured threats to his life on many occasions in the last few years, but no arrests have been made to date.
The police should leave no stone unturned in their investigations and bring the perpetrators to book. Failure to do so will give credence to speculation that this could have been a “selfie”, in which the country’s leadership wants to be viewed as victims to solicit public sympathy — but again by maiming others.
No doubt the most worrisome aspect is, however, how the security around the President was so lax that the explosion missed him by a whisker.
Citizens would remember on two other occasions Mnangagwa’s security has been breached at a rally in Mkoba, Gweru and at the official renaming of the Josiah Magama Tongogara Barracks — and this is cause for concern for the country.
We believe there is urgent need to tighten security around the President, and this unpalatable incident is reason enough to revamp the whole system.
If this can happen to Mnangagwa, it can happen to anyone else. If this is swept under the carpet, we have no doubt that that will be setting a dangerous precedent.
We believe that this development has unsettled the relative peace that Zimbabwe had enjoyed in the run-up to the crucial polls.
Clearly, the shameful act has no place in our country. In fact, we commend Mnangagwa’s decision to forge ahead with the elections, as stopping them would give whoever is responsible the victory that they don’t deserve.
As the President rightly said, the strongest response to violence is PEACE and the strongest response to hate is LOVE.
At a time that the country is trying to break away from the violence associated with former President Robert Mugabe’s politics of hate and violence, the perpetrators must be dealt with firmly to send a strong message to would-be perpetrators of violence.
Campaign rallies should be platforms of preaching peace rather than inflicting violence, yet scores of innocent people were needlessly injured in the fracas.
It is important that as a country, we strengthen the culture of peace and dialogue as a way of resolving our differences than resort to cowardly acts of violence.
This message must be sent loud and clear.