BY JOSEPHINE GANDE: – Human Rights Activist
I am deeply saddened by reports of violence that are coming out of Harare’s high-density suburb of Mbare involving youths from the country’s two main political parties barely two weeks after violence broke out in the same suburb (Mbare) and in Budiriro in Harare. These increasing reports of violence can only confirm what the people have said before, “We are not ready for elections in Zimbabwe yet”.
If any elections are going to be held anytime before a major and practical electoral and security institutions reform is done, I am afraid we will witness another bloodbath that is even worse than what we saw in 2008. Obviously the world will never consider them to be free and fair by any standards because every living creature in the world saw the ordeal that we suffered back then. The results are obviously well-known before we even go to the polls, we have noticed this in countries like Kenya, Ivory Coast, and Zimbabwe just to mention a few, so why waste our precious time.
I am always not surprised to hear that there will be,– only when the dictator loses— , some kind of a “DIALOGUE” between the two opposing parties, Is this not just an indirect way of a coup de tat? Why is it that there is no negotiation before the elections (to avoid wasting our precious time again) if it was the easiest way of staying in power after losing the elections, and not to cause unnecessary violence? I am sure it is beneficial to the country if the political leaders, and I mean if only the whole lot of African leaders at large realise this truth before spilling more blood senselessly as is currently happening in Ivory Coast, Egypt, Tunisia and in Zimbabwe to say the least.
Recently, the African Union held its 16th Summit under the theme “Towards Greater Unity and Integration through Shared Values”. And now WE, the children of Zimbabwe would like to call upon the AU to urge the Zimbabwean Government of many names to embrace the shared values of human rights and democracy. They should also consider having a greater presence in the country in view of the impending elections and I am sure that this will peacefully lead to a democratically elected government and not this political compromise that we currently have because we have seen this before in 1987 and the Unity Accord led us to the declination of our own economy. There should be an adequate presence of monitors from around the world well before the election time to report and respond to any threats of intimidation, violence and any other electoral malpractices. Ensuring this peaceful transition provides a perfect opportunity to the AU to prove its commitment to the “shared values”, notably that of peaceful power transitioning in its member countries.
Zanu (PF) and MDC youths were involved in the violence according to media reports, with Zanu (PF) youths nearing a
total of seventy. It is alleged that the Zanu PF youths found their MDC counterparts performing menial work at their offices before the Zanu PF youths started attacking the MDC Youths using rocks, logs, fists and booted feet. The MDC youths were only “saved” from further assault by the police who arrived at the scene by arresting them, what a joke, surely this is plainly what we call “selective” application of the Law.
Of-course we commend the police for taking a swift action to end the violence whilst it is also interesting to note that the police arrested the victims of the violence and not the perpetrators. I am left wondering what it means when police arrest victims and not perpetrators of violence as this new scenario will leave a lot of victims afraid to report cases of political violence to them for fearing that they will be arrested as well. What is more disturbing is the fact that the perpetrators will always be left, they will always be on the rampage to destroy properties of those they believe to be in the opposition and they will brag about not being arrested for it as well.
Utterances by the Mbare Police Officer-in Charge in the courts that the police failed to arrest the ZANU youths because the police was overpowered will also leave the residents of the country wondering if the police has got the means and power to perform its mandate of maintaining peace and security in the country. It is however surprisingly astounding to note how suddenly resourceful and powerful the same policemen become when it comes to arresting activists perceived to be in the contrary of ZANU PF’s policies. This kind of behaviour by the police force will only lead to the endless suppression of the general citizens by the same pro-Mugabe groups if they (the police) do not perform their duties effectively and in a non-partisan way.
How then is it possible for the police to claim that they apply the law in a non-partisan way when events on the ground prove them otherwise. Surprisingly enough, the Co-Minister of Home Affairs representing the MDC-T, Honorable Theresa Makone, claimed that the police are now operating in a non-partisan way –It makes me wonder – I mean, it is openly clear even to a blind man that the police are applying the law in a selective manner. Mrs. Makone should withdraw her statement or even resign from her post if we were operating in a normal political environment. The proud and greedy crop of politicians we entrust to lead us to the promised land, with our lives and the same politicians that we believe and wishfully hope will steer our beloved country into the right direction will never do that…. Ohhh!, how I miss our HEROES that sacrificed their lives for us to be free from the colonial rule. At times like these, I really wish they were here and if they were alive today, I am sure our Zimbabwe would have been a little bit better.
The Youth Forum says it is currently undertaking a project aimed at encouraging the youths to take part in a national building processes, especially elections, and they are encouraging all the youths to take part in the decision-making process and not become action-oriented by engaging in violence and the same appeal goes to all the People of Zimbabwe, both young and old, to join hands in strongly condemning these actions by all those youths and adults that are engaging in violence because that will not solve any issues that may affect us as human beings in general, regardless of our difference in political affiliation.
Let us work together to fight for the restoration of our “FUNDAMENTAL” Constitutional rights as the children of the Zimbabwean soil. We need to stop being used by these greedy politicians for their own political gains.