THE police have received praise for allowing the MDC Alliance demonstration to go ahead yesterday and blocking Zanu PF’s.
This has been hailed as a sign that the police are free from political influence, not to sound cynical, but it would take the force having to do more if they are to shed that tag.
However, something about that episode leaves a sour taste in the mouth, as it shows the lengths that Zanu PF will go to derail any opposition programmes.
Zanu PF’s demonstration, which will go ahead today, had nothing to do with supporting their candidate, President Emmerson Mnangagwa, but was a knee-jerk response to MDC Alliance protest march.
The ruling party may have felt it was being beaten at the agenda setting game and decided to go the detractive route by holding a similar march to the MDC-T’s.
If Zanu PF was genuine about supporting their candidate, they would have come up with a more innovative approach of showing it, rather than copying the MDC Alliance’s plan.
By failing to be original and copying the MDC Alliance, the ruling party had set the stage for violence and clashes that could easily have led to bloodshed.
While Zanu PF loudly calls for free and fair elections, we have always argued that a true test of the party’s mettle will come under scrutiny when they are put under real pressure.
This was the first instance and Zanu PF flunked dismally.
It shows that they are willing to resort to their antics of old once the heat is turned up.
This brings into question the whole “new dispensation” rhetoric.
The decision to host a demonstration in support of Mnangagwa on the same day as an MDC Alliance protest was reactionary and un-thought out.
Today’s rally, instead of being a genuine pro-Mnangagwa one, could now be viewed by the sceptics, as nothing more than showing who can pull a bigger crowd and that does not serve Zimbabwe’s interests in any way.
We are grateful that common sense prevailed in the end and Zanu PF decided to move its rally to today and avoided an orgy of violence, that would have been inevitable had both parties gone ahead yesterday.
In the interests of peace and development, we pray that we do not witness such diabolical machinations and the country is able to hold elections in the most peaceful of environments possible.