Violence disrupts efforts of national healing

HARARE - Zimbabwe’s party leaders, whose followers have been, for years, embroiled in political violence, rape, murder and forcing people to abandon their homes have once again, vowed to stop political violence “by pledging to follow a code of conduct created by the Organ on National Healing, Reconciliation and Integration (ONHRI)”.

While I applaud this move, I am not stupid enough to believe anyone of them is serious about it, considering the little respect the party leaders and the government itself give to this otherwise important organ.

At its inception and elevation to ministerial level, the organ and its code have sought to hold political parties accountable for the violence their supporters commit.

This became the biggest stumbling block since most of the violence had been committed by Zanu PF supporters against supporters of rival political parties.

The organ has no teeth and cannot prosecute anyone or impose punitive measures on any offender.

Sekai Holland, the responsible minister of the ONHRI, concedes that, unlike the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission’s code of conduct, which is on the statutes and criminalises acts of violence with penalties, including jail time, her ministry’s code of conduct “is voluntary and follows the country’s traditional ways of dealing with disputes”.

Anyone who thinks today’s political problems can be dealt with and sorted out by using Zimbabwe’s “traditional ways of dealing with disputes” has two choices, to check into either Engutsheni or Ngomahuru Mental Hospitals.

Which of our so-called “traditional ways of dealing with disputes” can handle Chipangano or Al Shabaab, let alone Zanu PF, which has single-handedly destroyed any traditional values we once had?

This is the kind of arrogance that kills our country, especially when our leaders connive and come up with such a facade of directives.

If it were that simple, our traditional ways of dealing with disputes would have intervened and stopped Zanu PF from abusing and killing our people.

There is no room in our tradition for Kwekwe’s infamous Al-Shabaab or for the notorious Chipangano, whose epicentre is Mbare, or the Hurungwe-based Jochomondo.

These Zanu PF sponsored thugs are today terrorising the nation but remain untouchable by the law, having made the police part of their victims because they appear to be more powerful than the police while even Zanu PF stalwarts, Cabinet ministers and traditional chiefs are literally afraid of them.

Traditional ways of dealing with disputes, you say? Be serious!

Although Zanu PF, like the famed tokoloshi, has never been able to survive without violence, without bloodletting, our politicians must re-invent themselves. They must turn a new page and begin a new chapter.

Chipangano, Al Shabaab and Jochomondo are just a few symptoms that afflict Zanu PF and, in turn, the nation.

Now party leaders have vowed to stop political violence by pledging to follow a code of conduct drawn up by the sleepy and sidelined ONHRI.

Shall we believe them?

Holland said the party leaders, or so-called principals, are expected to sign the document at the end of February “to coincide with the launch of a new historic project for the country”, whatever that is.

After the way in which our country and our people suffered and continue to suffer at the hands of the so-called war veterans, Chipangano, Al Shabaab, Jochomondo, our police and army, everybody must do their part to stem the violence.

We cannot cannibalise ourselves and the nation in an effort to appease politicians whose space of concern goes no further than their stomachs.  There is need for every politician and aspiring politician to put the welfare of the people and the nation first.

Too many vultures are on the scene and hardly any of them cares for the health of the nation but care about how much of what they don’t deserve they can get from the long suffering people.

It is my hope that this ONHRI will one day be taken seriously and that the work it was created to do is elevated in importance.

It is my hope that the politicians will at least allow us, their victims, the decency to wash and clean our wounds so that we may recover well enough to care for our families because that is the only thing we want to do.

Bandages must come off now; Zimbabwe must heal and move forward.

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