‘Mugabe insincere on terror gangs’

Source: ‘Mugabe insincere on terror gangs’ – DailyNews Live

31 July 2017

HARARE – President Robert Mugabe must order the arrest of suspected Zanu
PF terror gangs that he recently disowned while addressing a rally in
Lupane, social and political analysts contend.

At the Lupane presidential youth interface rally, Mugabe said: “I hear
there are groups that are moving around beating people. No, that is not
our way of doing of things.

“If you see them, push them off the road and give them the punishment they
deserve. Do not even wait for the police to come. We cannot have criminals
spoiling our good name.”

However, commentators have received the comments with mixed feelings with
some describing the president as a wily political fox.

Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) national director Jestina Mukoko said
speaking in forked tongues is far from what the issue of violence demands
in the run up to the 2018 elections.

“There is no way we can be convinced that the president was speaking
against violence when in the same speech he instructs youths to perpetrate
violence – when will they know when to stop?

“We are advocating for zero tolerance to all forms of violence. As ZPP we
believe that unless those who perpetrate violence are to account for their
actions and not by being subjected to more violence, we believe
perpetrators will begin to realise how expensive it is to be perpetrators.

Mukoko said she would have accepted if the police were called in to handle
those perpetrating violence “rather than call on some youths within the
party to deal with these people and then hand them over to the police
afterwards. Addressing political violence demands the right hand to know
what the left hand is doing.”

Zimbabwe Human Rights director Okay Machisa said while his organisation
appreciates any word against violence; it is still worrying that nothing
has been done about the recent clandestine wave of destruction of property
belonging to opposition politicians.

“For the president to just dissociate his party from these terror gangs
and do nothing about it is not enough. That way it would appear as if his
only worry is the public damage done to his name and that of his party,
and not the rule of law.

“Furthermore, the government of Mugabe continues to react with force to
peaceful demonstrations for electoral reforms. There has not been any
restraint of the police who use teargas, baton charges and water cannons
in public places,” said Machisa.

He added that this selective censure of political violence and the denial
of citizen’s constitutional rights, and lack of effort to find groups that
have been abducting activists, puts the authorities’ commitment to ending
violence in doubt, unless the perpetrators are investigated and sanctioned
through the avenues of the law.

“Despite a two-year-old High Court order, for instance, the government has
not done anything to trace activist Itai Dzamara, who was abducted in
March 2015.

“Just recently a University of Zimbabwe (UZ) student, Fanuel Kaseke, was
abducted and tortured by yet unknown assailants after a college protest by
medical students.

“If the president’s statements against violence are not to be taken as
public posturing, his government must act on police brutality and the
activities of clandestine groups affiliated to his party,” said Machisa.

Mining activist Farai Maguwu said: “It’s just that the group (youth gang)
was operating outside known Zanu PF terror cells, hence its clear
objectives are unknown.

“The president is not against political violence but he requires that each
act of terror is sanctioned by the party and the executors must be within
the hierarchy of the party where they report their activities to their
superiors. As it were this group was a loose Canon with no established
links with the party leadership.”

MDC spokesperson Obert Gutu said: “Mugabe is a wily political fox. He
always indicates left but invariably he turns right. He never means what
he says nor says what he means.

“Fundamentally, he condones political violence as long as it ensures his
continued hold on power. You can only trust him at your own peril.”

Social commentator Rejoice Ngwenya said not a single Zanu PF person has
been jailed so far for political violence.

“This proves that Mugabe’s comments are hypocritical – he epitomises
violence.

“Mugabe is the chief architect of political violence. It is in his DNA.
That is why he was willing to kill white commercial farmers just to
expropriate their land. The years 2008 and Gukurahundi were under his
watch.”

Zimbabwe Election Support Network director Rindai Chipfunde-Vava said: “As
election campaigns heat up we call upon political parties and their
supporters to ensure that there is zero tolerance to political violence.

“In addition, there is need to create enforceable punitive measures to
eliminate political violence and build a conducive political environment
which guarantees the enjoyment of fundamental freedoms.

“The Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission should also closely liaise with the
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and the Zimbabwe Republic Police to bring
perpetrators of violence to book.”

Media practitioner Nigel Nyamutumbu said Mugabe has for a long time
demonstrated his double standards and hypocrisy on the violence that has
characterised Zimbabwe’s political landscape by merely paying lip service
to the scourge.

“Had the president been sincere about ending impunity for political
violence, we surely would have had more cases of arrests of the
perpetrators by the police and we could also have seen more proactive
interventions by the respective state agencies in fostering a peaceful
political environment.

“As it stands, the president’s disassociation from the violence can at
best be described as politicking,” said Nyamutumbu.

Zimbabwe Partnership for Prosperity (ZIPP) president Blessing Kasiyamhuru
said his party calls for peaceful campaigns ahead of the 2018 elections.
“The advent of elections violence has conspired to rob citizens of the
choice to elect leaders as guaranteed by the constitution of Zimbabwe.

“Zimbabwean elections violence situation is both physical and spiritual,
simultaneously portraying a dualistic nature yet experienced in a fatal
singularity by the victims who are at the sharp end of the stick
regardless of the source of the violence.”

Kasiyamhuru added that the electoral violence is Zimbabwe’s public enemy
number one followed closely by corruption. ”

This phenomenon has disenfranchised more than half of the eligible
Zimbabwean voters both within and outside of the borders of Zimbabwe by
forcing deep voter apathy in the electorate.

“Voter apathy is the single most self-defeating strategy that any citizen
can adopt in a constitutional democracy. It’s mostly as a result of
citizens feeling that their choice means nothing, they believe the end is
obvious and by so doing giving ultimate advantage to the ruling party.”

The ZIPP president said there are three critical periods in the electoral
cycle in which violence occur in Zimbabwe.

“The pre-electoral period; the electoral period (the official campaign
period up to and including Election Day); and the post-electoral period
(the processing and communication of election results and the aftermath,
including electoral dispute resolution.)

“Electoral violence is not limited to just the killing and maiming of
citizens but includes intimidation, fear and denial of electoral rights.”

Social commentator Rashweat Mukundu said this is a positive statement by
the President and anyone who has watched the violence meted on opposition
supporters by this group will attest that it is among some of the most
heinous.

“The impunity and growing culture of politically-motivated violence is
nauseating and instead of ending it here, those who perpetrated the
violence are known, now let us see the arrest and prosecution of the
perpetrators, and let us also see other elements that perpetrate violence
youth militia, police being put on a leash,” said Mukundu.

COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 1
  • comment-avatar
    Chatham House 5 years ago

    Mugabe is the most sincere person in the world when it comes to Terror Gangs. Terror Gangs are Mugabe and are Zanu. There is total sincerity with all three. Zanu, Mugabe and Terror. I may have gross reservations about Ian Smith – but the one statement Smith made about Zanu and Mugabe being Terrorists still holds today as it did when they were busy being heroes bayoneting 6 week old babies in Chimanimani. Leopards and Terrorists did not change their spots.