Baipai — young and handsome with a bright future ahead of him — must be ruing the day he became a participant in political violence that left his face spited by the loss of an eye and permanent abrasions. His must surely be the face of political violence in Zimbabwe today.
Baipai’s case is interesting in more ways than one.
He is a Zanu PF activist and probably the first member of the party whose injuries have been so graphically photographed. This is important because it must have jolted the minds of that party’s perpetrators of violence leaving them to ask how far their impunity can go.
Zanu PF activists have always been shielded by law enforcement agents when they have indulged in violence. Because of this MDC activists, who in the past have borne the brunt of Zanu PF violence, have avoided open retaliation because they have always come out the worse for it.
Not only have the police perfected the art of transforming the victims (MDC activists) into perpetrators and detaining them for long periods, they have also blatantly applied the law selectively.
This was always going to present problems as victims became more and more inured to the injustices visited upon them. Driven against the wall, it is man’s primeval nature to cast away his fear and put up a fight. This is what Zimbabwe is beginning to witness now as violence escalates round the country.
The salutary lesson to come from the Nyanga episode is that when it comes to the crunch each individual is on his/her own. The people who have been driving the violence — the politicians — would be miles away in the comfort of their secured homes when the victims begin to lick their wounds.
People should refuse to be used by these perverted people as pawns in their debased political games.