Norton violence foreboding of worse things to come

The violence that has engulfed Norton ahead of this weekend’s by-election is a stark reminder how, as a country, we are not very far from resorting to force to make our points heard, particularly during elections.

Source: Norton violence foreboding of worse things to come – NewsDay Zimbabwe October 19, 2016

Comment: NewsDay Editor

The Norton by-election is important in this context because this is the first one where Zanu PF has seriously been challenged and true to form, the political players have resorted to their default position, violence.

We do not seek to apportion blame on either candidates, as history has proved that such occasions are marked by accusations and counter-accusations, and pointing out who to blame is an exercise in futility.

However, Zanu PF, as the ruling party, has a moral duty to ensure that peace prevails throughout the election process.

Any form of violence is an indicator of Zanu PF’s failure to promote and uphold peace, thus, morally their blameworthiness is higher than the opposing candidates’.

With the number of by-elections, we can only shudder to think how much violence would have been witnessed had Zanu PF been challenged over the past two years.

The 2018 elections are likely to be fiercely contested and the prospect and the scale of the violence send a chill down the spine if we were to use Norton to foretell what the future holds for the country.

However, since the elections are at least 18 months away, the Norton by-election gives more than enough warning and time for authorities to fix what is broken immediately.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) has a duty to ensure that elections are peaceful and it cannot pretend to be an innocent by-stander when the situation deteriorates.

Zec has to be seen to be doing something, even if it takes drastic measures of disqualifying a party or candidate accused of fanning violence or hate speech.

The country cannot afford to pussyfoot around the issue of violence during elections and Zec must be seen to be proactive.

The police are another institution that needs to be engaged to see what can be done to promote peace.

It is worrying that the police, sworn to promote and preserve peace, are routinely accused of engaging in violence.

This is not something that we can afford to discuss in passing, but it needs concerted and continuous efforts and engagement from all interested parties.

The electoral violence of 2008, 2002 and even of 1990 and 1985 is still fresh in the minds of many and we cannot continue on this destructive path.

Surely, 36 years after independence, the country has matured and cannot afford to continue with this barbaric behaviour.

Peace is a vital ingredient for the country’s development and growth and it is time we put the country ahead of narrow political interests.

COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 1
  • comment-avatar
    Nyoni 6 years ago

    Holding onto power for the sake of selfish reasons is simply paramount to holding the whole country to certain death.
    Imagine a business that started in the 80s under one CEO . If that person never moved with the times that business would be finished by now. A country is the same. Leadership change like any business is vital . Performance targets should be mandatory for any top tier manager and that is all Mugabe is , a manager. As his performance is dismal, he should be dismissed with immediate effect or voted out. All parties have this right to ask for his removal but it appears fear is holding them back.
    The constitution clearly mentions this but even the highest law of the land is been upstaged by our bandits.
    Move over Robert your time is over.