Walk the talk, Sir

HARARE - We welcome President Robert Mugabe’s no-nonsense position on violence at yesterday’s Independence Day commemorations.

His voice and body actions showed a man who meant what he said and this is what Zimbabweans expect from their leaders as the country trudges towards a watershed election due this year.

Mugabe told Zimbabweans, who are now accustomed to violence whenever elections are held, to embrace peace.

This is indeed welcome especially coming from a man who at one point declared to have degrees in violence.

Hopefully, the octogenarian leader has reached the Damascene moment and should now fervently drum the peace message into the police force in order to stop the selective application of the law.

For the sake of Zimbabwe, we hope Mugabe really meant it when he boldly stated: “No one should force you to vote me.”

We hope this important message has reached loud and clear to his supporters around the country, who are already reportedly terrorising their opponents.

With Mugabe facing a daunting election that could end his 33-year rule, it is important for him to go beyond just empty talk and implement agreed political reforms, which are key to free and fair polls.

The adoption of a new constitution was a good start. But we need more.

The new constitution alone is no guarantee to a violent-free election and as such Mugabe, who is a proud commander-in-chief of the Zimbabwe.

Defence Forces, should ensure  the subversive statements continually coming from his troops are nipped in the bud.

He must take action otherwise his supposed clarion call for peace will just be hot air.

The commander-in-chief should make it a point that these feared men and women do not intimidate citizens using his name.

We are all aware that most parts of the country are perennially drought-prone and this year is no exception and Mugabe’s message for food distribution not to be politicised is not only welcome, but also long overdue because people were being denied food on political grounds.

As the nation hurtles towards elections, this is an opportunity for Mugabe to prove critics who have always branded him two-faced, wrong.

For some with acute memories, horrors of the 2008 presidential election runoff are still fresh and Mugabe has a chance to end that culture of impunity by ordering the arrest of perpetrators of violence who are still boisterous even as we go towards crucial polls.

That could be a beginning to prove that Mugabe at last is serious in ending endemic violence which by his own admission has become a major source of embarrassment. - Staff Writer

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