Fighting fire with fire makes a bigger fire

HARARE - Last week, illegal artisanal miners invaded Grace Mugabe’s Smithfield Farm in Mazowe in what appeared to be a politically-motivated occupation.

Grace is thought to be the real force behind her aging husband’s volte-face over his resignation last November and his dim view of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration.

It would therefore appear that she is being punished for behaving like a fool by rushing in where angels fear to tread.

Grace is undoubtedly one of the most hated persons for her role in aiding and abetting her husband’s excesses during former president Robert Mugabe’s 37 years in power.

Regardless, an eye-for-an-eye psyche now prevalent in Zimbabwean politics will leave the nation blind.

Grace might have done some of the worst things during her moments in the sun — including seizing farms belonging to fellow black Zimbabweans and gallivanting all over the world on expensive shopping trips at taxpayer’s expense — but that does not warrant her adversaries to fight fire with fire because it can only create a bigger fire.

On several occasions, government has spoken out against relentless farm occupations as disrupting production, saying they should stop forthwith to induce certainty in the agricultural sector, which is the backbone of the country’s economy.

Regardless, the farm invasions are continuing in full glare of the international community, which Mnangagwa is desperate to convince to take a second look at Zimbabwe, which Mugabe had reduced into a pariah state.

Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement minister Perrance Shiri warned recently that government will bring to book those bent on causing anarchy on the farms, saying all bona-fide farmers with tenure documents should be left to carry out activities without hindrance.

“Please, don’t disturb those with tenure documents, whether they are white or black. Once you do that, you are fighting the government,” he was quoted saying, adding that squatters who settled themselves illegally will be evicted at the end of the summer season after harvesting their crops.

The invasion of Smithfield Farm provides a test for Mnangagwa’s government, accused of speaking with a forked tongue by going after its critics under the guise of fighting corruption, while protecting criminals aligned to it.

In as much as this incident should serve as a wake-up call for Grace, who, by now, should have seen the errors of her ways, those fanning anarchy against their adversaries must repent or risk being taught hard lessons.

If this is not done, this new dispensation could easily become another nightmare for Zimbabweans.

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