ELECTORAL violence is a major concern, but not all violence occurs between parties. In Manicaland, much election-related violence is emanating from intra-party competition over selection and imposition of candidates pre-July 30 general election.
Manicaland has been known as a haven of peace – a province whose people respect the rule of law and uphold the rights of every member of our society.
However, it is not a secret that a worrying trend of intra-party violence is on the rise within the rank and file of the opposition MDC-T in the province.
The unprecedented scenes of lawlessness, where scores of individuals smash each other with iron bars, guns and other lethal weapons, reached its fever pitch last Saturday with a barbaric attack on outgoing MP for Musikavanhu Mr Prosper Mutseyami. He was brutally attacked and left for dead at Nandos, in Mutare’s Central Business District.
Mr Mutseyami is vying for the Chikanga-Dangamvura seat, which is also being eyed by the party national women boss Lynnette Karenyi.
Escalation of violence in the MDC-T leaves a lot to be desired. It reflects high political intolerance and the extent to which freedom of association and contestation is disregarded by a party that touts itself as the paragon and shinning beacon of democracy.
The Saturday attack, which left Mr Mutseyami with head, facial and knee injuries must be condemned by all and sundry.
Police must descend and bring the assailants to book.
Violence should not be perpetrated on other people as a means to achieve political goals. No. Manicaland should not be a breeding ground for dimwit politicians that resort to evil machinations of violence whenever their political systems have failed to respond to their demands.
Violence, regardless of the status and complexion of its perpetrator and instigator, should not be used as means to achieve political objectives.
Most of the violence in MDC-T is linked to succession wars as politicians try to strategically position themselves for the 2019 elective congress.
It’s now dog eat dog with, Advocate Nelson Chamisa’s loyalists exchanging blows with a faction allegedly led by party secretary general Mr Douglas Mwonzora.
This is against the expectations of many who had thought that the MDC-T will embrace calls by President Emmerson Mnangagwa for free, fair, credible and violence-free elections.
Observers believe the violence in MDC-T has the blessings of the party leaders who want to keep a stranglehold on power and could only be stemmed by political will from these leaders.
Dealing with intra-party violence is the first step in dealing with cross-party violence, and the situation in the MDC-T paints a gloomy picture of what to expect during the July 30 election period.
We call upon the MDC-T leaders to openly castigate political violence and take punitive measures against its instigators and perpetrators.
The police should also take action to combat violence without prejudice.
The church and civil society should call for genuine intra and interparty political dialogue and address this emerging national tragedy,
To youths, especially the unemployed and disillusioned, not to injure or kill for a few dollars or a little beer. Do not be used to destroy the peace our parents and grandparents fought for.
Above all do not die in vain and leave your families to grieve over your loss.
Do not be the one who takes another’s life for selfish and partisan political reasons.
We wish those injured a quick recovery so that they can return to their normal and productive lives.
May God bestow peace as our greatest treasure.