BY NIZBERT MOYO
Former ex-combatants from the Zimbabwe People’s Revolutionary Army (Zpra) and Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army (Zanla) have joined hands to coordinate peace building campaigns ahead of the March 26 by-elections.
Zpra and Zanla were the armed wings of Zapu and Zanu respectively during the armed struggle against colonial rule.
The country has been recording pockets of violence as campaigning for the by-elections to fill up vacant posts heats up.
Opposition Citizens for Convergence Change (CCC) led by Nelson Chamisa has said its members have been harassed and beaten by suspected Zanu PF activists.
Zanu PF has also bemoaned violence against its members by alleged CCC activists.
Zpra spokesperson Baster Magwizi told Sunday Southern Eye that ex-combatants were alarmed by the increasing acts of political violence.
“We are the people, who know it all and we acknowledge it.
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“From now on, we will be working with them (Zanla) towards transforming structures of violence and conflicts in Zimbabwe completely,” Magwizi said.
“Together we are going to go to all constituencies in the country to try and formalise structures of peace so that there shall be no violence.”
Magwizi appealed to fellow ex-combatants to avoid being abused by politicians and political parties to unleash violence on defenceless citizens.
Analysts have previously warned that the country is heading towards a violent 2023 election campaign season.
The CCC and Zanu PF have also raised the stakes by insisting that victory is certain, with President Emmerson Mnangagwa last week saying Chamisa must forget going to State House.
On Wednesday, CCC deputy spokesperson Gift Ostallos Siziba said the party stands ready to rally masses to the streets to protest against fears of election rigging.
In 2018, over a dozen opposition supporters were killed when soldiers opened live ammunition during the post-election election violence that gripped the country.
Previous elections have also been marred by violence, the worst being on 2008 when over 200 MDC supporters were killed, hundreds tortured and forced to flee their homes during a presidential run-off campaign.