Zanu PF, police must end violence
THE unabated increase in incidents of violence — perpetrated by Zanu PF
elements — make a mockery of President Robert Mugabe’s clarion call for
peace. They bring back memories of the unrest that rocked the country after
the veteran leader was outpolled in the March 2008 presidential election by
the MDC’s Morgan Tsvangirai.
Mugabe made a passionate plea for an end to politically-motivated violence
when he opened parliament over a fortnight ago. But as was he was calling
for peace, Zanu PF supporters were beating up those perceived to be MDC
sympathisers, including councillor Victor Chifodya, outside parliament as
police officers stood idly by.
Since then there have been incidents of violence in Highfield, where no
arrests were made, as well as by a Zanu PF militia group, Chipangano, just
outside Harare Central Police Station.
In June, Zanu PF supporters beat up MPs and journalists at a hearing
organised by the Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal Affairs,
Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs and the Thematic Committee on Human
Rights on the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission Bill. Despite overwhelming
evidence pointing to the identity of the perpetrators, not a single arrest
In fact Presidential Affairs minister Didymus Mutasa vowed to defend the
perpetrators and secure a lawyer to defend them if they were prosecuted.
South African President and Sadc facilitator to the Global Political
Agreement Jacob Zuma called the disruptions: “One of the most unfortunate
incidents in recent times.”
These developments beg a lot of questions, like is Mugabe sincere when he
calls for peace? And if he is, has he lost control of his party’s and
government structures to end the violence?
Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri should also shoulder the blame
for failing to apprehend the perpetrators. His actions, or lack thereof,
give credence to accusations that he is biased in favour of Zanu PF. How can
we take seriously a police force that idly looks on while members of the
public and elected officials are assaulted in broad daylight?
That Mutasa can even try to justify the madness at parliament and not be
censured by the police is an indication of a force that has lost its sense
of public duty. The police force can’t deny accusations that it has been
turned into Zanu PF’s instruments of repression.
This is worsened by Chihuri’s pledge of allegiance not to the country, but
to Zanu PF and branding the MDC-T as puppets. Chihuri should quit the police
force and join mainstream politics than continue to superintend over the
partisan application of the law.
There is also a worrying trend that is now developing within the MDC-T. At
the party’s 12th anniversary celebrations, co-Home Affairs minister Theresa
Makone said women in the party were prepared to defend themselves with
“pots and pans” from Zanu PF violence.
At the burial of one of its founding members Diamond Karanda on Wednesday,
party vice chairperson Morgan Komichi called for reprisals.
Remarks by Komichi and Makone can only make a bad situation worse. As much
as they might feel aggrieved about the attacks on their members and
selective application of the law by police, there is no justification to
call for retaliation as this will inevitably lead to civil strife.
There is need to nip violence and impunity in the bud before it gets out of
hand and turns into a bloodbath. Mugabe and Chihuri should take decisive
action to end violence and the MDC should avoid inciting further unrest with
It’s their duty after all.
By Constantine Chimakure