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Violence is ingrained in MDC-Alliance’s DNA

03 Sep 2019 at 07:48hrs | Views
THERE is consensus among those who read Zimbabwe's political landscape correctly that the country has exhibited conspicuous signs of dynamism under the visionary leadership of President Emmerson Mnagagwa.

ED has read the situation facing the country accurately. Since assuming the reins of power, following the resignation of former president, Robert Mugabe in November 2017, President Mnangagwa has been saying and doing the right things - he has lured hordes of foreign investors into the country to invest in the diverse sectors of the economy, has pledged to eradicate corruption, restore the rule of law and promote infrastructure development, among many other positives - to get the economy back on track for prosperity.

Regrettably though, ED's efforts to resuscitate the economy are being hampered by the spectre of violence that has proved to be the country's Achilles heel since the inception of the MDC in 1999.

Ironically, one of the glaring falsehoods being peddled by the leadership of the MDC- Alliance today is the tired line that their party is a peaceful and democratic institution.

And yet the party has, in its rank and file, legions of rowdy youths and gangsters known for their violent and barbaric behaviour. It is an indisputable fact that violence has always been ingrained in the DNA of the MDC since its inception.

In October 2000, a crowd of 25 000 supporters thronged Rufaro Stadium to celebrate the first anniversary of the founding of the MDC.

Addressing the crowd, party leader , Mr Morgan Tsvangirai, said: "The time for mass action is now. We say to Robert Mugabe: If you don't want to go peacefully, we will remove you violently." This speech was the forerunner to an avalanche of dirty tactics and manoeuvres that the MDC would employ to prop up its regime change agenda.

Today, those who have a bone to pick with the MDC-Alliance's leader, Mr Nelson Chamisa, or have divergent political views live in fear of his personal paramilitary group, the Vanguard, which has an inglorious reputation of abducting and brutally assaulting Mr Chamisa's political adversaries.

Over and above this, the notorious group is being used by the leadership of the MDC-Alliance to spearhead violent demonstrations aimed at overthrowing the Government.  

Human Rights Watch Southern African Director, Mr Dewa Mavhinga, has in the past advised Mr Chamisa to denounce acts of violence being committed in his name by the Vanguard, but to no avail.  Sober, analytical and discerning observers will, no doubt, concur with me that since Mr Chamisa seized control of the MDC-T while the late Tsvangirai's body was still in a mortuary in South Africa, his modus operandi has always been to get into State House through civil disobedience, and not through the ballot. It is an open secret that during the campaign period for the 2018 harmonised elections, Mr Chamisa threatened to make the country ungovernable if the election results were not in his party's favour.

"Hakudyiwi rinopisa? Mukaita zvekutamba, ndinodira jecha muupfu. Hamuridyi sadza iroro," Mr Chamisa fumed while addressing his supporters in Mkoba, Gweru last year.

Following the violent demonstrations which rocked the country in August (2018) and from January 14 to 16 this year, I penned a number of articles, castigating Mr Chamisa for inciting violence. One reader, who used the pseudonym: "True Patriot" sent me the following e-mail: "Why is it that whenever people engage in violence, it is always Chamisa and the MDC-Alliance who are blamed?

"In your article titled: 'None but ourselves can build Zimbabwe', you compared Chamisa to the Zulu King, Goodwill Zwelithini, known for inciting xenophobic violence against black foreigners in South Africa.  

"What I find rather disturbing is your tendency to ignore violence perpetrated by Zanu-PF. For your own information, the MDC-Alliance is a very peaceful and democratic party and there is not a shred of evidence that it instigated the incidences of violence that you alluded to in your article," reads the e-mail in part.

Perhaps Malcolm X knew that every society has people like "True Patriot" when he said: "You are not supposed to be blind with patriotism that you can't face reality.

Wrong is wrong, no matter who does it, or says it." Only a dimwit can deny that the MDC- Alliance is the most violent political party in the country today. A report by the Zimbabwe Peace Project, which was released last year, ranked the MDC-Alliance as the most violent party for the month of June (2018) after it recorded 16 cases of intra-party violence.  It is important to note that this report was released before the August 1 (2018) and the January 14 to 16 (2019) violent demonstrations.

Lest my real intentions are misconstrued, let me hasten to point out that I am not saying Zanu-PF is a party of saints.  My intentions are not so ignoble. If indeed the truth be told without fear or favour, the revolutionary party, under former president Robert Mugabe's rule, had violent tendencies. I am not denying that. But all this is now dirty water under a bridge.

The revolutionary party has undergone a radical metamorphosis since the inception of the new political dispensation. The party has rebranded and re-invented itself and is now a very peaceful, democratic and development-oriented institution.

This is primarily because the party's President and First Secretary, ED Mnangagwa, has made peace, unity, tolerance and reconciliation the foundation upon which to build the Second Republic. In Zimbabwe the hymn being sung by many a politician today is: "Peace begins with me; peace begins with you, and peace begins with all of us."

This hymn is so easy to sing that even a kindergarten child can sing it. And yet it is so difficult to translate into action. But this is not the case with President Mnangagwa, who not only preaches the gospel of peace and unity, but actually lives the talk, even in the midst of adversity.

Even after escaping death by a whisker at a campaign rally at White City Stadium on 23 June 2018, CdeED did not seek revenge and retribution for the terror attack.  Instead, he exhibited a high level of tolerance and political maturity by extending an olive branch to his political adversaries. This confounded his rivals, who thought he would use the bomb blast as an excuse to clamp down on them.

Indeed, it is dismaying to note that while President Mnangagwa and Zanu-(PF) are blowing the trumpet of peace, unity and reconciliation, Mr Chamisa and his trigger-happy thugs in the MDC- Alliance continue to bang war drums, threatening to organise more demonstrations to destabilise the country.

Alas, since Mr Chamisa employed mafia-style tactics to land the MDC's top post, Zimbabwe has witnessed a spate of violent demonstrations which, sad to say, have adversely affected the country's economy.

It is quite clear to the observant that Chamisa took the political battle into the streets after realising that Zanu-PF enjoys popular support countrywide and that removing it from power through the ballot would be a Herculean task. But making noise in the streets and destroying other peoples' property is retrogressive and is not a solution to the problems that bedevil our beloved country.

Cuthbert Mavheko is a freelance journalist living in Bulawayo.

Source - chronicle
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