POLITICAL violence is a broad term used to describe violence perpetrated by either persons or governments to achieve political goals. Many groups and individuals believe that their political systems will never respond to their demands. As a result, they believe that violence is not only justified but also necessary in order to achieve their political objectives . . .”
While the practice has been reported in most parts of the world, there is a pattern in which political violence always rears its ugly head. Political violence comes to life each time countries are towards general elections. Political players begin to contest for space and as a result, they seek to coerce people to follow them.
The country is already at an important stage of the election cycle, with the national elections a few months away, and politicians are already busy on the ground laying the foundation as individuals or political parties. While the major political parties in the country have not yet announced the beginning of the campaign period, what has been happening in the MDC-T cannot be, however, divorced from the pending elections.
The fight over leadership following the death of founding president Mr Morgan Tsvangirai has been dominated by violence among party members.
There have been a number of violent incidents perpetrated by MDC-T members against fellow party members, and we shudder to imagine when this will come to an end.
Nonetheless, we wish to reiterate that violence is not the answer to solving problems in the party, or at any level whatsoever. Apart from leading to injury and even death, violence breaks the social fibre of the nation. We urge MDC-T members and the likeminded to take heed of the plea from President Emmerson Mnangagwa to sober up and desist from violent tendencies ahead of this year’s harmonised election. The President has repeatedly preached the gospel of peace. Addressing different church organisations in Harare recently, President Mnangagwa said violence was ungodly and there was no need to shed blood over elections.
“As we approach the harmonised elections later this year, I urge the church to reach out to all its congregants with this message, of peace, love and unity . . . I will soon be meeting with my fellow leaders of political parties in Zimbabwe including the young (Nelson) Chamisa to drum up the same message that all of us, as leaders from respective political parties, must actively shun violence, but rather exercise tolerance. I repeat — there is no need for violence. This is a new era,” he said.
He said in the event of disagreements, violence must not be used to settle matters. “While there may be some disagreements between us, we should never allow our political discourse to turn poisonous. As voters, we must reward those who seek dialogue and treat opponents with respect,” he said.
Events in Bulawayo last week where MDC-T members turned against each other should not happen again. Apart from showing the world that the party is ill-organised and has tracts of violence in its DNA, the practice also disturbs the lives of peace loving citizens and also endangers the lives of those who have nothing to do with the party.