By Lance Guma
President Robert Mugabe who secured a violent re-election in June 2008 on the back of nearly 500 dead bodies, has said that Zimbabweans should tolerate each other’s political and social preferences ahead of harmonised elections next year.
Addressing mourners at the burial of High Education Minister Stan Mudenge at the National Heroes Acre on Monday, Mugabe delved into one of his usual tongue in cheek speeches and said leaders should earn respect through good deeds.
“There is a need to ensure that you behave as a Zimbabwean who recognises that your nationality is also for your neighbour. Your importance is as good as your neighbour’s. Kunyangwe uri shefu, urimunhuwo. Hunhu hwako hunofanira kuonekwa nemabasa ako.
“We may have differences, but we are the same people. Allow others to have their own preferences. Let us recognise these virtues which make us more united than divided.
“Let people vote the way they want to vote. Kana pane anoda kukanda vhoti yake mudziva, ndezvakewo izvo . . . Do unto others as you would want them to do unto you.”
After MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai won the March 2008 presidential election the Joint Operations Command (JOC), a grouping of all the state security agencies, responded with the brutal Operation Mavhotera Papi (where did you vote).
Over 500 perceived MDC-T supporters were killed, while tens of thousands were tortured and maimed.