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Violence must be condemned at all levels

16 Jan 2019 at 09:51hrs | Views
We have endured a week such as no nation should live through: a time of violence and tragedy. The country suffered losses to human life and to property.

Zimbabwe needs to think about that tragedy - and to reflect upon the deeper questions it raises for us all.
We need to investigate the origins of the recent disorders in our country. Are we as a country failing to have measures to prevent or contain such disasters in the future.

Does the police still have its full authority to investigate these riots, in accordance with their standing instructions, and continue to search for evidence of conspiracy or complacency.

But even before the investigations begins even before all the evidence is in, there are some things that we can tell about the outbreaks of this riot and unlawful actions which came out of the demonstrations.

First let there be no mistake about it-the looting, arson, plunder, and pillage which have occurred are not part of the civil rights protest. There is no Zimbabwean right to loot stores, or to burn buildings, or to fire rifles from the rooftops or to burn down infrastructures That is crime and crime must be dealt with forcefully, and swiftly, and certainly under law.

Innocent people, Civilians and security officers have been killed. Damage to property—owned by Zimbabweans individuals and government is calamitous. Worst of all, fear and bitterness which have been loosed will take long months to erase.

The criminals who committed these acts of violence against the people deserve to be punished—and they must be punished. Explanations may be offered, but nothing can excuse what they have done.

There will be attempts to interpret the events of the past few days. But when violence strikes, then those in public responsibility have an immediate and a very different job: not to analyze, but to end disorder.

That they must seek to do with every means at their command: through local police, State officials, and—in extraordinary circumstances where local authorities have stated that they cannot maintain order with their own resources—then through the military power that we have limited authority to use.

Ministry of Defense must issue new training standards for riot control procedures immediately to Army units across the country. Our security must have the ability to respond effectively, quickly, and appropriately, in conditions of disorder and violence.
Those charged with the responsibility of law enforcement should, and must, be respected by all of our people. The violence must be stopped, quickly, finally, and permanently.

It would compound the tragedy, however, if we should settle for order that is imposed by a gun.
In Zimbabwe we seek more than the uneasy calm of martial law. We seek peace that is based on one man's respect for another man—and upon mutual respect for law. We seek a public order that is built on steady progress in meeting the needs of all of our people.
Not even the sternest police action, nor the most effective army troops, can ever create lasting peace in our country.
The only genuine, long-range solution for what has happened lies in an attack mounted at every level upon the conditions that breed despair and violence. All of us know what those conditions are: ignorance, discrimination, slums, poverty, disease, not enough jobs and corruption. We should attack these conditions not because we are frightened by conflict, but because we are fired by conscience. We should attack them because there is simply no other way to achieve a decent and orderly society in Zimbabwe. Ministers must be appointed because they are competent not because they are friends with those in power. Ministers appointed on I owe you basis are a liability to their ministry and the nation. They lack professionalism and they fuel discontent in the civil service.   

In the past year ZANU PF directed the greatest governmental effort in all of our Zimbabwe history at these ancient enemies including corruption. But we have failed on partisan rewards. The roll call of those ethics reveals the depth of our concern.
Our parliament must press for laws which would protect our citizens from violence, from state sponsored violence and from organised violence quoted in demonstrations.

Our work has just begun to turn our economy round Yet there are those who feel that even this beginning is too little. There are those who would have us turn back even now, at the beginning of this journey.

There are some  who feel that Zimbabwe cannot afford a model government.
There are some who feel that zimbabwe cannot afford a peaceful labour relations a peaceful demonstration.
Theirs is a strange thinking which must be coming out of a comic book. Zimbabwe is generally peaceful. We have ways of civilly presenting our disquiet  and we should be counting the assets that these measures can bring to Zimbabwe. We have a country richer in opportunity; more full of promise; people of order, progress, and happiness. Instead, some are counting the seeds of bitterness.
This is not a time for angry reaction. It is a time for action: starting with legislative action to improve the life in our country. The strength and promise of the law are the surest remedies for tragedy in the streets.

But laws are only one answer. Another answer lies in the way our people will respond to these disturbances.
There is a danger that the worst toll of this tragedy will be counted in the hearts of Zimbabweans in hatred, in insecurity, in fear, in heated words which will not end the conflict, but prolong it.

So let us acknowledge the tragedy; but let us not exaggerate. Most Zimbabweans are leading decent, responsible, and productive lives.

Nothing can destroy good will more than a period of needless strife and suspicion between the people and government.
Let us condemn the violent few. But let us remember that it is law-abiding families who have really suffered most at the hands of the rioters. It is responsible citizens who hope most fervently and need most urgently to share in Zimbabwe's growth and prosperity.
This is no time to turn away from that goal.

To reach it will require more than laws, and much more than dollars or fuel. It will take renewed dedication and understanding in the heart of every citizen.

there are thousands of men and women tonight who are eager to heal the wounds that we have suffered; who want to get on with the job of fending for their families and working and building Zimbabwe.

Zimbabweans must be dedicated This spirit of dedication cannot be limited to our public leaders. It must extend to every citizen in this land. And the man who speaks to break the peace must feel the powerful disapproval of all of his neighbors.
So let all Zimbabweans search their hearts and bring the best for our country.

And to those who are tempted by violence, Please Think again. Who is really the loser when violence comes? Whose neighborhood is made a shambles? Whose life is threatened most?
If you choose to tear down what other hands have built,
- You will not succeed;
- You will suffer most from your own crimes;
- You will learn that there are no victors in the aftermath of violence.

The apostles of violence, with their ugly drumbeat of hatred, must know that they are now heading for ruin and disaster. And every man who really wants progress or justice or equality must stand against them and their miserable virus of hate.
Yours is the duty to bring about a peaceful change in Zimbabwe. If your response to these tragic events is only "business as usual"—you invite not only disaster, but dishonor.

fellow citizens, let us go about our work. Let us clear the streets of rubble and quench the fires that hatred set. Let us feed and care for those who have suffered at the rioters' hands—but let there be no bonus or reward or salutes for those who have inflicted that suffering.

Let us resolve that this violence is going to stop and there will be no bonus to flow from it. We can stop it. We must stop it. We will stop it.

And let us build something much more lasting: faith between man and man, Faith in each other and faith in the promise of beautiful Zimbabwe.

Let us pray for the day when "mercy and truth are met together: righteousness and peace have kissed each other." Let us pray—and let us work for better jobs and better housing and better education that so many millions of our own fellow Zimbabweans need so much.
Those journalists who are instrumental in causing violence must be overtaken by shame and they must grow up. Violence will never change anything. Eye for an eye makes the world blind.
God be with Zimbabwe.

Source - Dr Masimba Mavaza
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