Back to Index
a climate that justifies full-scale repression
The Standard (Zimbabwe)
April 01, 2007
THE savage attacks on opposition and civic society
members three weeks ago are a resurrection of the orgy of violence
that has marred Zimbabwe's electoral landscape since independence.
They confirm who in this country has " many degrees in violence".
Zanu PF has incorporated intimidation, coercion
and violence into its arsenal whenever its hold on power is threatened.
In Nkomo: The Story of my Life, Joshua Nkomo says of the turbulent
times he was in government: "I feared, but I certainly did
not say, that the internal disruption was coming from the same government
that I was telling my people to trust."
In early February 1982, he says first Emmerson Mnangagwa
and then the Prime Minister (Robert Mugabe) announced on radio and
television that massive stocks of weapons had been found at two
farms. "There was, they said, a plot to overthrow the government
with the help of South Africa. The man responsible was Joshua Nkomo
. . .
"The charges were ridiculous and soon became
even more exaggerated."
One find was said to include enough electronic equipment
to jam the communications of the entire Zimbabwe security forces.
Nkomo dismissed the charges as "pure invention". Hostile
publicity was directed against him in the government-controlled
media and the Prime Minister said: "The only way to deal effectively
with a snake is to strike and destroy its head." Mugabe told
the nation that the Father of Zimbabwe had become the Father of
That strategy has changed little. Mugabe still contrives
to use these ploys in order to justify remaining in office. Today
similar accusations are raised but the target is the MDC, which
the government charges with plotting jointly with the UK and US
to effect regime change.
But during 2000, 31 people were killed and more
than 500 were seriously injured in politically motivated violence
blamed on the government. During 2002 54 people died.
Edgar Tekere in his recently published book, A Lifetime
of Struggle, says of the 30 May 1989 Dzivaresekwa parliamentary
by-election: "Our candidate was Mutikore. This was a real baptism
of fire because (Herbert) Ushewokunze came out with a group of armed
thugs, and threatened everyone . . ."
Patrick Kombayi, Tekere writes, "was contesting
against Simon Muzenda in the Gweru constituency.
"As he was driving through Gweru on a road
leading to Harare, but still in the town centre, he was shot in
broad daylight". His attackers were pardoned by Mugabe.
Following the brutal assault on leaders of the labour
movement while in police custody last September, Mugabe brushed
aside concerns of "a profound sense of dismay" from the
UN Country Team, International Labour Organisation and the International
Bar Association, suggesting the trade unionists got their just desserts.
The cases cited above scribe a pattern of State
repression but more importantly highlights who, between the State
and the opposition, has a history and capacity for violence.
Hype, exaggeration and demonisation of opponents
are Zanu PF's tried and trusted methods. So are political
violence and electoral manipulation. Then Sadc wants us to believe
that free, fair and democratic elections were held in 2002. Nobody
will buy that.
Please credit www.kubatana.net if you make use of material from this website.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License unless stated otherwise.