BY LORRAINE MUROMO
POLITICAL commentators yesterday urged President Emmerson Mnangagwa to speak up and act following a resurgence of political violence that claimed the life of an opposition supporter in Kwekwe last week as campaigning for the March 26 by-elections heats up.
There have been sporadic reports of violence in different parts of the country allegedly spearheaded by suspected Zanu PF supporters.
Zanu PF has denied the charges and accused the opposition of stage-managing the violence to excite its “Western sponsors”.
Political analyst Kudakwashe Munemo told NewsDay Weekender that there were different interpretations that could be drawn if the President did not act on the political violence.
“The infrastructure of violence is quite complex in Zimbabwe. The structures are set up and motivated by the same people holding government offices. As such, it may be difficult for the President to call off such barbaric acts as the available evidence suggests that it was well-planned and the perpetrators are aligned to Zanu PF,” Munemo said.
“Voicing out and acting on it is ideal as demanded by the position he holds, it may bring sanity. Remaining silent may also be regarded as a language of its own, one which when interpreted means he is in support of shrinking political space for Citizens Coalition for Change and the broader populace.”
Another political commentator Vivid Gwede said government’s silence on the incidences of violence alleged to have been perpetrated by suspected ruling party members was concerning.
“Any Zimbabwean government at any particular time has a constitutional duty to protect the rights and the security of all citizens, including calling for peace and condemning violent actions,” he said.
“Besides the duty of the police being to arrest and the courts to try perpetrators, there should be the unequivocal voice of the political leadership in promoting peace.”
Social and political analyst Methuseli Moyo added: “If the violence continues, the President would have to comment. For now, the police and the respective leadership of the political parties can do anti-violence advocacy. It should help. It is incumbent on all leaders to preach peace. Otherwise 2023 will be bad in terms of political violence.”
Norton legislator Temba Mliswa (Independent) also took to Twitter to urge Mnangagwa to speak up.
“We know the truth about political violence in Zimbabwe as it is already documented. A well-meaning government faces it head-on and doesn’t play politics while people die. Power is temporary and should not intoxicate us into being insensitive and coarse as humans,” Mliswa tweeted.
Zimbabwe has a history of political violence dating back as far back as the watershed 1980 elections.
- Follow Lorrain on Twitter@RMuromo