Of late the president has used every opportunity coming his way to denounce violence. This is the sensible thing to do for violence is the savage’s resort, when reason flies out. No serious nation can allow violence to circumscribe its narrative.
Why should there be violence when diversity is an inherent facet of any society? That natural diversity dictates citizens have the right to support different political persuasions under the protection of the constitution. Diversity of opinion is an inalienable right and to try to suppress it is to work against the rule of law.
Zimbabwe’s liberation war was premised on the need to give every citizen the vote and the war did not prescribe which political party that vote would go to. Combatants did not go to war for a particular political grouping; patriots go to war for substantive ideals.
It is not enough to simply talk of non-violence without walking the talk. A starting point would be the immediate arrest and trial of all those who committed political crimes in the past; arsonists, murderers and robbers still roam the streets with impunity when the right thing would be to bring them to justice.
Bringing them to justice is the only way to exorcise the menacing ghosts that haunt the nation. Our continued indifference to that savage epoch suggests that the powers that be condone or, worse still, take ownership of the atrocities that took place; the Joseph Mwale saga is a clear example.
Mugabe’s continued exhortation of non-violence does not make sense in the face of the activities of many Zanu PF-aligned outfits such as Chipangano which continues to behave as if its members are above the law.
The high-density suburb of Mbare lives under some kind of “Marshal Law” because of the shadowy Chipangano which seems to enjoy the tacit approval and protection of the powers that be?
Recently it disrupted and halted a number of projects that would have benefited the poor people of Mbare. These projects include the US$5 million Bill and Melinda Gates housing scheme and the Mashewede Holdings project to build a food court near Matapi police station. Ironically, Chipangano was able to halt the project right under the nose of the police when it was patently clear what they were doing was illegal.
On the basis of what is going on in the country, it can’t be said that the violence is spontaneous and isolated; it is actually violence of the industrial type; deliberately cultivated as a tool of coercion.
Until gangster-groups such as Chipangano and many of the bogus so-called war veterans are disbanded and thrown in jail, it becomes indisputable that the violence has the official seal of approval.
Mugabe’s call for non-violence has become idle talk, targeted at some far-off constituencies intended to hoodwink the world into believing in a purported return of the rule of law, when the situation on the ground reads otherwise.
Not so far back, Mugabe spoke against violence while addressing parliament, but outside legislators and newsmen were being assaulted by mobs loyal to him. All happened in the full view of the police who did nothing.
Examples abound of the selective application of the law, which Mugabe while speaking against violence never comments on. We are either a country of civilised people, guided by the rule of law, or we have to accept that we have degenerated into criminal gangsters, masquerading as a government.
BY BRIAN MANGWENDE