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Stay away: A manifestation of the MDC's violence DNA

17 Jan 2019 at 13:26hrs | Views
The MDC Alliance and the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU)'s so called protest stay away ostensibly meant to register disquiet over the ongoing economic challenges paradoxically turned out to be a showcase of the two organisations' violent streak which traces back to the late 1990s.

Most of the ghastly events which characterised the three-day event proved that the two organisations failed to control their youthful, restive and impressionable members from naturally falling into their natural violent default settings. The leadership of the two taught their members that every issue is resolved through violence and there is no way that the youths could learn to protest peacefully when they were taught otherwise. Even before the ZCTU played midwife to the formation of the MDC in September 1999, it had championed the destructive and violent food riots of January 1998 with the late Morgan Tsvangirai at the helm.

A look at the horrible and mindless incidents which occurred on Monday and Tuesday this week shows that the call for a stay away under the guise of protesting against the prevailing economic hardships was merely an excuse to unleash anarchy in the country as part of the MDC Alliance's "Tozvidira jecha" (sabotage) campaign. How else can one explain all the attacks on police officers, police motor vehicles and police stations? How can a Zimbabwean in his right mind set fire on State assets such as police stations and buses as well as tolling infrastructure which belong to every citizen?

The protest was more about advancing brazen criminality than championing anyone's genuine concerns. In order for Government to provide services, amenities and infrastructure it requires revenue from sources such as tolls paid by the motoring public at toll plazas. The moment one conveniently forgets this important fact, seizes such tolls, collects money from the motoring public and pockets it before setting the toll gate on fire, this ceases to a be a peaceful protest. Anarchy and crime set in. The same criminals who masqueraded as protesting citizens also wantonly set up illegal road blocks in some  Harare roads to extort money from the driving public all in the name of staying away.

Everyone has a constitution-guaranteed right to protest or to abstain from a protest. If the cause behind the stay away was very popular as its prime movers claim, why were roads barricaded with stones, disused old vehicle body wreckages and truckloads of sand (Yes, sand) and people who were going about their business forced with the aid of assaults to go back home? If the stay away had overwhelming buy in from the people, the question is: why did the organisers use the social media on 14 January to threaten residents of affluent suburbs such as Harare's Avondale, Mt Pleasant, Borrowdale and Westgate among others for carrying on with their lives and business while the residents of high density suburbs were reeling under pain and pressure from the marauding youths?

One wonders what kind of an opposition political party and a labour body the MDC Alliance and the ZCTU are, which commissioned the former's youth assembly members to assault some school teachers in Chitungwiza for discharging their mandate of teaching school children. Only terrorist groups such as Joseph Kony of Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army and the Nigerian terror group, Boko Haram among others use children in conflict. It rends the heart when a Zimbabwean opposition political party, which claims to stand for all the good while accusing ZANU PF of being the bad one, uses innocent school children as human shields in confrontation with law enforcement agents.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his administration are working overtime and in overdrive to ensure that the economy not only ticks again but catches up with other continental economic giants such as Nigeria and South Africa. This cannot only be achieved through global giants investing in the country but also through the aggregate value of even seemingly inconsequential business undertakings such as the tuck shop next door.

In view of this, no economic sabotage surpasses the acts of ransacking a whole shopping mall as occurred at the Entumbane in Bulawayo on Monday this week and the looting of some Choppies supermarket outlets in Bulawayo, Chitungwiza, Gweru and Harare. These business undertakings employ thousands of Zimbabwean people. The MDC Alliance and the ZCTU's stay away was a queer one which destroyed the sources of jobs to protest against the shortage of jobs among other issues. It was a strange demonstration which sought to protest for better living conditions by destroying the efforts those who have realised that the much-sought-after better living conditions do not only consist of formal employment opportunities.

In the wake of the terrible trail of destruction and pain that followed the so called stay away, the MDC Alliance spokesperson has come out of hiding to shamelessly deny responsibility for the grisly results. This means that the party and the labour body have effectively thrown their youths under the bus. This is not the first time that this has happened. After the needless 1 August 2018 violent demonstration, the MDC Alliance leader, Nelson Chamisa described the participants of the protest among his followers as stupid for demonstrating while the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) was still collating and announcing the 30 July results.

The MDC Alliance may deny responsibility for the results of the protest but the buck stops at its door. Many a time soccer teams have borne the consequences of rowdy supporters who they have no control over. Similarly, when the two bodies called for a protest they should have also known of the inevitable consequences of such an action.

Going forward, a law should be enacted to make the main drivers of such vile activities accountable for the resultant loss of both life and assets.  Zimbabwe cannot afford to have a few individuals influencing thousands of people to unleash mayhem in the country only for them to go scot free.

Source - Nobleman Runyanga
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