Mugabe, Tsvangirai challenged on violence
Opposition parties have called on the inclusive government to move beyond rhetoric on the issue of political violence and reign in their errant supporters.
The call by parties outside the coalition government came after the Zanu PF central committee and national councils of the two MDC parties met in Harare last Friday to discuss resurgent political violence throughout the country.
President Robert Mugabe (Zanu PF), Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai (MDC-T) and Industry and Commerce minister Welshman Ncube (MDC) addressed the top leadership of their parties, calling on them to shun violence.
But the parties, which were not part of last week’s meeting, said political leaders were responsible for the violence and had the power to stop it.
Silver Bhebhe, a spokesperson for Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn (MKD), accused Zanu PF and MDC-T, the two main parties in the unity government, of spearheading the violence.
“We have seen and heard leaders of these two political parties condemning political violence at conferences,” Bhebhe said.
“But we are surprised that even as they talk nothing is happening on the ground to stop the violence.
“We have noticed what these leaders say is not sincere and that whilst they are condemning violence, they are sending their supporters to cause disturbances.”
Bhebhe said what was more disturbing was police were biased in dealing with cases of political violence.
He said although the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee (Jomic), which is charged with the monitoring of the implementation of the 2008 power-sharing deal, tried to speak out against violence, it cannot do much to stop the cancer.
Zanu Ndonga president Gondai Paul Vutuza said the meeting by the three parties had no significance beyond the speeches.
“The indaba was just one of those meetings held by parties involved in political violence who still think that the less than two million people who voted for them in 2008 still make up the majority of their support base,” Vutuza said.
“We are not saying we want to be involved in their violence meetings.
“The three leaders (Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Ncube) must be told in no uncertain terms that they do not have title deeds over Zimbabwe.
“The leaders must walk the talk as we are sick and tired of empty talks hanging on empty promises.”
Jomic chairperson for this month, Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, told journalists at a recent briefing that political parties must discipline their supporters if violence was to be tackled.
“We believe part of the problem is that at political party leadership level we are able to sit and talk.
“But this is not translating to the lower levels and it is important we begin to cascade this to our supporters,” Misihairabwi-Mushonga said.
But at the same meeting Zanu PF representative in Jomic Patrick Chinamasa defended the party’s secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa who said the former sole ruling party will defend its youths implicated in the July raid of Parliament.
The youths attacked MPs and journalists inside Parliament and disrupted hearings on the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission Bill.
“If your spouse commits murder, I am sure you will run around to get money so that
they access legal representation,” Chinamasa said.
“When you do so you are not supporting the murderer, you are doing it because he is your relative.
“I do not see any problem in a political party trying to assist its members.
“It is not that they are supporting the act but it is fair to assist because they are members of the same organisation.”
Elliot Mangoma, the MDC-T representative in Jomic, said it was unfortunate jail sentences were not deterrent enough for perpetrators of political violence.
“We should deal with leaders and set a kind of thinking and culture of non-violence,” Mangoma said.
About 30 MDC-T members were injured a fortnight ago after they were attacked by suspected members of Chipangano, a shadowy group linked to Zanu PF, forcing the party to cancel a rally in Chitungwiza.
Chipangano, based in the populous suburb of Mbare, has been blamed for the violence that has rocked the capital for several months.
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