IN his inauguration speech on August 25, 2018, President Emmerson Mnangagwa clearly promised the nation a departure from his predecessor, the late Robert Mugabe’s violent politics.
On that sunny day, Mnangagwa promised that violence would be alien to our nature, culture and traditions.
Many people, who were yearning for a political paradigm shift from the authoritarian approach used by his predecessor, believed Mnangagwa.
But it now appears he wasn’t sincere given the escalating levels of inflammatory rhetoric, some of it spewing from his mouth as the country heads for harmonised elections next year.
After he unleashed the army on unarmed civilians to ruthlessly quash post-electoral violence on August 1 2018, resulting in six fatalities, Mnangagwa appointed a high-powered commission of enquiry to investigate the shootings — and many people including the international community believed he was being sincere.
However, when he did the same in January 2019, after citizens protested against fuel price hikes, leading to 17 fatalities, that belief evaporated as the perpetrators roamed the streets scot free. The victims are still yearning for justice.
Since then, Mnangagwa has proved to all and sundry that his anti-violence stance is mere political rhetoric devoid of sincerity given what is obtaining on the ground.
Mnangagwa has on numerous occasions turned a blind eye to violence perpetrated by Zanu PF supporters on the opposition.
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Ahead of the March by-elections, a Citizens Coalition for Change supporter was stabbed to death in Kwekwe, Midlands province. The suspects who belong to the ruling Zanu PF party are out on bail.
Mnangagwa is also using lawfare and promoting impunity which has resulted in the prevalence of violence.
Zimbabwe has had a history of violent elections and the situation on the ground points to a bloody 2023 election.
We sincerely appeal to Mnangagwa to stop this hypocrisy and walk the talk to avoid bloodshed and a tainted legacy.