While he appeared to make a convincing case for an end to hostilities, thereby earning a few kudos, many may have wondered whether, like the biblical Paul, he had experienced his Damascene moment considering his background.
It is a known fact that Mugabe is more associated with violence than peace, largely pronounced by his unleashing of the 5 Brigade in the 80s to massacre thousands of innocent souls in Matabeleland.
This followed a few years after his call for reconciliation at Independence. Waving his fists, Mugabe has previously boasted about degrees in violence and is infamous for urging his supporters who invaded farms in 2000, killing several farmers, to “strike fear in the hearts of white men”.
Mugabe also encouraged war veterans and Zanu PF youth militias to inflict harm on supporters of the MDC. Such links to the occurrence of violence, makes Mugabe ill-suited to preach the gospel of peace.
Instead of just grandstanding at important occasions, Mugabe needs to convince Zimbabweans that he is a changed man; a champion of peace and harmony. He can start by ordering the police and the army to adopt zero tolerance on political violence.
He should also order police to investigate all cases of political violence that were recorded with no action being taken. The President also needs to bring back to the barracks soldiers who have been deployed across the country where they are accused of interfering in the Zanu PF electoral process.
Vigilante groups like Chipangano in Mbare have no place in democratic societies and they should be disbanded. Complaints against them should also be thoroughly investigated.
If Mugabe is sincere about his call for peace, nothing can stop him from taking these steps. Deeds, not words, Cde President.
Quote of the week
“It wasn’t well-thought. Due process not being followed, we need to go back
to the drawing board and say how can we empower our people. The best way to empower our people at this present moment in time is to expand our economy to create as many sectors as possible.” Finance minister Tendai Biti on indigenisation.