'Use peace to resolve challenges'

HARARE - As Zimbabweans yesterday commemorated International Day of Non-Violence meant to endorse a United Nations General Assembly resolution on “the principle of non-violence and the desire to secure a culture of peace, tolerance, understanding and non-violence”, the country finds itself engulfed in the throngs of abductions, kidnappings, police brutality and intra-party violence.

Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) in commemorating this day released startling figures alleging that over the course of the year, it has documented 800 cases of harassment/intimidation of citizens, 162 cases of assault, 117 of unlawful detention, 77 and 65 cases of looting and malicious damage to property, respectively.

ZPP’s monthly monitoring report reflects that Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) has been behind 389 cases of violence recorded in the country since January. Zimbabwe National Army has been responsible for 73 while war veterans were perpetrators in 45 cases.

Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (Zimrights) director Okay Machisa said as we ccomemorate international day on non-violence we have had enough violence in the world.

“There is too much violence all over the world as well as here in Zimbabwe starting with the infamous Gukurahundi, then the land resettlement which was equally violent, Murambatsvina and most of the elections held so far have been violent.

“As Zimrights we are observing this important day because we subscribe to it, we are an association that upholds human rights standards of peace and tranquillity.

“The problem we have in Zimbabwe right now is that violence is presiding over peace as politicians from the ruling Zanu PF and opposition are both fanning violence. The government, the police and the politicians from across the divide are engulfed in perpetrating violence,” said Machisa.

He urged leaders in government or those in opposition political parties to listen to their people. “Violence is a direct result of leaders ignoring the concerns of their people and when people are stretched to the limit they revolt, they resort to violence. So the leadership has to listen to the concerns raised by people because at the end of the day if they are ignored they resort to protests.”

Political commentator Mcdonald Lewanika said our politicians and policing services should be ashamed of themselves.

“While the world commemorates international day of non-violence Zimbabweans commiserate with each other given the violent nature of governance that has become characteristic of the Zimbabwean state.

“Zanu PF leaders are always complaining about people tarnishing the image of the country but on a day like this, I encourage them to reflect and honestly introspect about their conduct and manners of handling discontent, which provide the narrative of a rogue and police state,” said Lewanika.

He added that the country has serious problems and citizens have only sought to highlight these. “But instead of being responsive and seeking wholesome solutions from citizens the government’s response has been through violent quelling of discontent.

“Those presiding over the state will have no one to blame if the situation escalates, for it is known that violence begets violence and it is them to blame.”

He said those presiding over the state are well advised to embrace the “wisdom that non- violent approaches to problem solving should not only the be hallmark of citizen struggles but also of a legitimate and caring state — if non-violent protest is not allowed, those with challenges will be forced to locate their struggles in more clandestine activities, which doesn’t bode well for the country.”

Mbira playmaker Albert Chimedza said his message to all police and governments on the planet, our police and government included, is: “Violence breeds more violence. Violence traumatises the perpetrator, the victim, bystanders, families and friends of the victim and perpetrators involved.

“There is also the issue of verbal violence which is not exclusive to governments. It is there in the media, families and other personal relationships. Hurting others hurts oneself and hurts future generations.”

Chimedza added that people should realise that trauma can be and is inherited. “It transmits from generation to generation. This is a scientific fact. It is time for the whole world to take a fresh look at our attitude to violence and at the violence we inflict on ourselves, other species and on the planet as a whole.”

The mbira playmaker said we should not be blinkered. “State violence is a global problem. Thinking that it is exclusive to our government is grossly misleading. It largely has to do with the nature of the relationship between state, big money and politics in the post industrial revolution state and corporate structures. Violence has been a tool of religion, state and big business for centuries!”

Mining activist Farai Maguwu said right from the days of the liberation struggle a culture of violence was initiated which has permeated our society as a whole. “As we reflect on the occasion of the International Day of Non-Violence let each one of us introspect our contribution to this violent culture and make a conscious decision to individually and collectively contribute towards a peaceful, nonviolent culture.”

Social commentator rejoice Ngwenya said: “Well, it’s a message appropriate especially to Zanu PF and its crony institutions that are genetically inclined towards violence as a default mode in defending their hegemony.

“In fact, it is not even a day for self-introspection on their part, but weighing and preparing to deal with the inevitable consequences of being one day, not far off, facing the wrath of the people of Zimbabwe.”

Political commentator Maxwell Saungweme said unleashing violence to citizens protesting for better service delivery, good governance and sound economic policies is a very old, tested and failed response.

“History has it that violence will not solve anything but instead both perpetrator and victim are affected negatively. Violence also has a way of perpetuating itself with perpetrator ending up being the victim.

“Stories of many dictators who end up tasting violence at their end are many. Politicians and police must choose peace in order to resolve current challenges Zimbabwe faces.

“Citizens must be engaged through dialogue and the regime must be open to other ways of resolving current crises than remaining on a trajectory of arrogance and violence,” said Saungweme.

MDC spokesperson Obert Gutu said Zimbabwean political leaders and indeed, all political and civic rights activists, should appreciate that violence is like a plague.

“In fact, violence begets violence. The Zanu PF regime of late has resorted to enhanced state-sponsored violence, banditry and thuggery.

“This regime should immediately renounce and denounce violence as a tool of political suppression and oppression. There can never be peace, political stability and economic prosperity in an environment where violence is endemic and rampant,” said Gutu.

The MDC spokesperson said ZRP has since degenerated into a “ruthless Gestapo; a mindless and brutal oppressive machinery that bludgeons and torture peaceful demonstrators.

“The Police has to be reformed and re-aligned into a well-trained, respectable and law-abiding police force that respects and upholds the people’s fundamental human rights and liberties.”

Blessing Ivan Vava said: “The message is for them to stop violence and be the champions in promoting peace in the country rather than to respond to citizen’s concerns through the use of force and violence.”

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.