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Mujuru's words half the answer, the other half is action
Movement for Democratic Change
December 09, 2010

Vice President Joice Mujuru's belated admission that Zanu PF has a history of violence against the people is half the answer unless it is backed by solid action to bring perpetrators to book and open a new page of political tolerance as a precursor to national healing and integration. The MDC has taken note of Mujuru's regrets but maintains that as long as violence remains the only Zanu PF campaign tool with the accompanying impunity it offers to its supporters murder, maim and brutalise the people, such statements reflect nothing other media stunts.

The record is clear. Zimbabweans dread an election in which Zanu PF takes part because of its policy of violence. Since the 1980 election, Zanu PF has plunged thousands of families into mourning after losing a loved one in the party's name and for proffering a differing opinion. The story of Gukurahundi is matter of public record. Zanu PF never made amends in respect of the havoc the party wreaked to entire communities in western Zimbabwe and the generational impact that it created since then. In particular, it must never be forgotten that in 1985, PF-ZAPU supporters further endured a raw deal countrywide in state-sponsored post-election violence even after Zanu PF and Mugabe had won that election.

The picture in the 1990 election shows a worse position. Patrick Kombayi, a Gweru businessman and a candidate for the Zimbabwe Unity Movement, almost paid the ultimate price after he was shot and badly maimed by a Zanu PF youth leader Kizito Chivamba and CIO operative Elias Kanengoni. Although the two were convicted and sentenced to jail, Mugabe quickly pardoned them before justice was realised. The Zanu PF streak of violence reached a crescendo in 2000 in its forlorn attempt to ward-off an emerging challenge from the Party of Excellence - MDC. The chaos claimed dozens of innocent lives, including Tichaona Chiminya, Talent Mabika, Trymore Midzi, Patrick Nabanyama and David Stevens, and left thousands of hapless villagers homeless and displaced.

If anything, the entire coterie of MDC legislators and candidates from that election were never spared of the scourge. Surprisingly, Mugabe and Zanu PF once again granted the perpetrators a blanket pardon. These cases and the supporting evidence, including judicial orders, are well documented and Zanu PF could help cleanse themselves by directing the Attorney General to act professionally and bring finality to these murders. The aftermath of 29 March 2008 requires no further debate as it ably noted in the Global Political Agreement (GPA) as constituting Zanu PF's main survival kit. In the GPA, Zanu PF committed itself to accord equal treatment to all Zimbabweans regardless of gender, race, ethnicity and place of origin. But the events which unfolded before the ink on the agreement could be allowed to dry were shocking.

There were a spate of state-sponsored abductions of dozens of MDC officials and civil society activists that saw the needless incarceration of a two-year old, Nigel Mutemagawu, for 76 days in the name of Mugabe and Zanu PF. The events baffled many Zimbabweans who, at the time Mugabe appended his signature on the GPA, thought Zanu PF had turned a new leaf. In particular, Mugabe and Zanu PF had committed themselves to strive to create an environment of tolerance and respect for the people.

Zanu PF soon tossed off that pledge and launched Operation Chimumumu when COPAC launched the Constitutional outreach programme. This militarised operation, designed to perpetuate a war psychosis, grossly interfered with a purely civilian exercise to a point where it threw the programme into turmoil. At the moment, ordained Zanu PF officials are causing untold suffering openly and in the party's name everywhere without any sanction from Mugabe, the party leader, on the dangers of such a ruckus on the nation, and in defiance of both local and international opinion and advice. Apart from the widely published forays of rogues like Jabulani Sibanda, only last weekend Simon Khaya-Moyo, the Zanu PF national's urged the country security forces to crash journalists who criticize them.

"In some countries if you criticise security forces you won't last a day you will be crashed, killed and destroyed," Khaya-Moyo told Zanu PF supporters in Umguza. "I warn journalists in the private media to stop this, because it won't be tolerated and we will hunt them and kill them. You hear them talk about press freedom. What press freedom?"

Against the above background, the MDC finds Mujuru's latest utterances, as reported in the media, as half the answer. The party finds it hard to take Zanu PF's non-violent conversion seriously. Zanu PF is still far from passing the national test as genuine outlets for inclusion, peace, tolerance and pluralism. As the situation stands today, Zimbabweans can never be hoodwinked and lulled into believing that Zanu PF has become a latter saint and a born again political player until there is practical action to show repentance.

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