HARARE - Despite President Robert Mugabe’s calls for calm in Zanu PF in response to the several demonstrations held countrywide against embattled party national political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere, deadly violence erupted in Harare on Saturday as supporters from opposing camps turned on each other and against police.
As opposed to the past, this time around, it was intra-party violence that rocked the capital.
It only shows that violence is an integral part of Zanu PF’s DNA.
Whenever there is a person or group with different views on anything, violence has always been the ruling party’s way of getting issues solved.
All this is happening in a country deep in the throes of trying economic times requiring urgent interventions, ruling party heavyweights are busy planning demonstrations, counter-demonstrations as well as violent confrontations.
Instead of drawing up solutions for Zimbabwe’s current challenges, stones, bricks and other harmful ammunition are being thrown at others to stifle their views. Although several intra-party skirmishes have been reported in the past but in the majority of the cases of political violence, we have known Zanu PF to target supporters of other political groups.
In 2008, especially in the run-up to the June 27 presidential run-off MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai pulled out of the polls after over 200 of his supporters had been killed in politically-motivated violence around the country.
Hundreds of others were either maimed or left homeless in well-choreographed campaigns by suspected State agents.
It appears Zanu PF thrives on instilling fear in opponents, a trait which smacks heavily of intolerance.
Only last year, retired brigadier general Agrippa Mutambara, who recently dumped the Zimbabwe People First, was among party members who were savagely attacked by axe-wielding Zanu PF youths at Dunaventy Farm in Guruve.
Again last year, in the run-up to the Norton constituency by-election, ruling party members ran amok, breaking a rally meant to be addressed by eventual winner of the poll Temba Mliswa. Perhaps it would be least surprising to those who have always known Zanu PF for what it is — a party that thrives on fomenting violence, chaos and disorder like what happened with land reform in the year 2000.
As Zimbabwe hurtles towards the eagerly-anticipated 2018 harmonised polls, there are fears that Zanu PF may want to push its violence a gear up as a way of suffocating opposing views.
The party’s leadership must be implored to ensure their members do not play the violence card in the run-up to the crucial elections.
The police must also do their job and arrest all perpetrators of political violence regardless of their political affiliation.