Ugly scenes of violence engulfed the MDC-T party’s headquarters last Tuesday, with police firing teargas and deploying scores of police outside Harvest House.
Many feared that this was confirmation that the country had returned to the dark old days, of settling political scores violently.
Observers have said the police response to a vendor who alleged assaulted an officer, was disproportionate and they did not have to deploy in the manner they did.
The skirmishes outside Harvest House in Harare, however, may not be isolated but rather could be seen as part of a political strategy by Zanu PF and the law enforcement agents, the observers said.
Last weekend a battalion of armed police officers stormed St Paul’s Mission in Lupane in Matabeleland North province where they disrupted an MDC-T
rally, arguing that they listened to their bosses and would not follow court orders.
These scenes were replicated in the resort town of Victoria Falls, where police barricaded themselves into a stadium, ensuring that no one was allowed to enter and attend an MDC-T rally.
A Zanu PF outfit, known as Chipangano, has also allegedly unleashed a reign of terror in Harare, where they are threatening to take over businesses and land among a host of illegal activities.
Recently they attacked legislators and journalists inside parliament. Chipangano also unleashed an orgy of violence outside the august House, while, ironically, President Robert Mugabe preached peace inside it.
Brilliant Mhlanga, a media scholar believes there is nothing new, but that it was part of the way Zanu PF handled its negotiation process.
“We must understand it as a sign of the elections we should expect soon,” he said. “But above all violence in Zimbabwe has often been used as a form of negotiating our weird constitution of society.”
Mhlanga said violence was used by Zanu PF as a tool to intimidate people and also as a reminder of the past, when violence had been used as a tool.
“Further, as a strategy it boldly confirms the presence of Zanu PF to the ordinary masses and, as a process of re-incarnation, it serves to remind them of violence they would have seen before and that if they do not play ball more of it will follow,” Mhlanga added.
The media scholar said he described Zimbabwe’s social order as weird, because it was strange that citizens were violently coerced into deciding issues that would affect them in the future.
Mhlanga said, Zanu PF hoped that the threat of violence would continue looming over the heads of people so that in the event of elections the party may be in ascendancy, failure to which, mayhem may be unleashed.