De-escalate tension

HARARE - Times are getting heated and at times political discussion is descending into physical confrontation.

Tensions among Zimbabweans have become more pronounced as the election nears.

Leading rights group Zimbabwe Peace Project notes in its latest bulletin that political tensions are slowly rising with 444 cases recorded in October up from the 365 incidents witnessed during the month of September.

We believe what’s happening in Zimbabwe is not an attempt at safeguarding the gains of independence — it’s the beginning of a terror movement. We have walked that road before. We refuse to trudge along.

There is totally no need for targeting those with opposing political views. The people are absolutely terrified of the escalating tensions.

ZPP says Manicaland and Bulawayo have been most affected. The GNU needs to build and reinforce trust. We believe there is one side of this government that is deliberately fuelling tensions.

Almost four years after the 2008 election madness, we still have people being bashed because of their political views! When is enough going to be enough?

If we beat each other up, we undo all the gains made in the four years of this inclusive government.

These are not sporadic incidents, this is organised. In Bulawayo, the ZPP has recorded two cases of torture during the period under review and Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) agents were cited as perpetrators. And the torture occurred in police detention.

This has to stop. Equally, out in the communities, there is need for greater tolerance.

While most people are passionate about their views — there is no need to go out and break the law in large numbers.

It’s important for Zimbabweans to respect freedom of speech and expression.

Differing political opinions can never be an excuse to break the law, hurt someone or damage property or worse.

It’s the freedom of speech, the freedom of expression, the freedom of religion, the freedom of movement — all of those things, we cannot compromise on all of that because one political party is afraid of a free and fair poll.

We cannot allow headmen and traditional chiefs cited in the ZPP report to jeopardise this great nation that we have because of partisan considerations.

ZPP describes the traditional leaders as having “become a law unto themselves, assuming powers and appropriating functions beyond their constitutional mandate with the blessing of Zanu PF-aligned state officials and the police.” There you have it.

Chiefs, who should be the custodians of our tradition and preside over community disputes without fear or favour, have become an appendage of a political party!

Meanwhile, the food situation continues to deteriorate in Masvingo, Bulawayo, Matabeleland North and South as noted by ZPP while chiefs are busy campaigning for Zanu PF. - Staff Writer

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