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Violence has no place in our civilised society

31 Jul 2020 at 07:37hrs | Views
VIOLENCE, whether verbal, physical, emotional or psychological, should never any have place in a civilised society like Zimbabwe. Yet the use of State apparatus to perpetuate violence has been a defining feature of the so-called second republic since its birth in the historic November 2017 coup which toppled long time ruler, the late Robert Mugabe.

Ruling governments in Africa in general and Zimbabwe in particular are notorious for resorting to the use of hard power as opposed to soft power in order to achieve acceptance or liking.

Hegemony - a theory conceptualised by Italian scholar and neoMarxist Antonio Gramsci - which means rule by consent is in the area of hard and soft power.

However, of the two - soft power as opposed to use of force has proved to be the best approach to political communication across the world because it is all about persuasion.

Politicians have to seek consent to attain political office from citizens through persuasion, which explains why elections are held across the globe.

The use of hard power or force in order to attain or retain political power has proved to have serious consequences for candidates when they want to exercise authority. It becomes a herculean task for political office bearers who get into power using repressive State apparatus.

Since its inception in 2017, the second republic has been framed as a violent government imposed by the military. The 2018 elections pitting President Emmerson Mnangagwa and MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa were hotly disputed and the subsequent violence led to the fatal shooting of six innocent civilians by the army on August 1 the same year. In January last year, security agents killed another 17 people during the protests against fuel price increases, yet in a democracy citizens have the right to exercise their rights.

Abductions and assaults have become a daily staple for perceived enemies of the State and continue to expose Zanu-PF in general and Mnangagwa in particular as "bloody thirsty". This administration continues to disregard the rule of law it is supposed to uphold, using brute force to thwart and suppress fundamental rights.

Yesterday, Zimbabweans woke up to a heavy presence of armed soldiers and police cordoning off major roads leading into the capital Harare and cities and towns accross the country in an attempt to block peaceful demonstrations by citizens against corruption and maladministration.

The ruling party has even urged its supporters to attack perceived opponents and this was evidenced in Harare South on Wednesday, where Zanu-PF youths beat up suspected MDC Alliance supporters at Retreat Farm reportedly led by Member of Parliament for the area and the President's nephew Tongai Mnangagwa.

It defies logic how a government which is supposed to be the custodian of people's rights would threaten violence against the same citizens for simply exercising their constitutional rights.

A government that believes in constitutionalism and rule of law cannot threaten, let alone unleash violence on its own people. It is a right not a privilege for citizens to express themselves. Any attempt to suppress their fundamental rights as enshrined in the Constitution is not helpful.

The government must not be the perpetrator of violence. In this case, citizens are calling for protection from their government.

Source - newsday
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