When the principals addressed an end of year media gathering towards the close of 2010, President Mugabe told journalists that it was not that he didn’t preach peace, but that he was not listened to. To be more convincing, the principals should go out and tell the people affected by the violence that violence will no longer be tolerated, and that anyone involved in violence of any sort — politically linked or not —will be dealt with accordingly.
And to ensure that perpetrators of violence will be really dealt with, the principals must also jointly address the police officers at all levels below the Commissioner-General, and tell them that any police officers who distract the cause of justice by protecting perpetrators of violence will lose their jobs. They must emphasise professional behaviour among police officers.
The principals must also have a frank discussion on the failure by Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri to maintain law and order and relieve him of his duties. That should not be a difficult decision at all given that President Mugabe himself has already hinted that his talk about the need for peace has not been taken heed of. Chihuri is sleeping on the job, no doubt about that, and deserves to be dismissed. A bold decision like that by Mugabe could help bolster his party’s chances of picking a few electoral seats in the next election.
Doing so would also help restore confidence and create a conducive atmosphere for elections, and who knows, it may enable the holding of the election as early as Zanu PF wants it, resources permitting.