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Mnangagwa must act decisively on violence

President Emmerson Mnangagwa needs to act decisively on acts of violence by party thugs who appear hell-bent on continuing with their barbaric acts in the post-Robert Mugabe era.

An activist from Joice Mujuru's party who was stoned by suspected Zanu PF youths
An activist from Joice Mujuru’s party who was stoned by suspected Zanu PF youths

It is a long known fact that violence is heavily-rooted in Zanu PF and that whenever the party feels threatened — physically or otherwise, it goes into its default mode — that of being violent.

There is no justification whatsoever to the barbaric scenes witnessed in Highfield and Glen Norah last week when well-known thugs long-associated with Zanu PF and Mugabe ran amok, assaulting opposition leader and former vice president Joice Mujuru and her supporters in the two suburbs.

The attacks were carried after Mujuru had met with Mugabe at his Borrowdale home. Was this a set-up?

Was this a response to the meeting of Mujuru and Mugabe by the Zanu PF led by Mnangagwa?

This remains a subject of conjecture until the police and the courts have established what truly led to these despicable acts.

What is so disconcerting about this thuggery is that it came at a time Mnangagwa has been preaching the gospel of peace and unity among Zimbabweans and communicating to the world that the country has moved on from the Mugabe era.

But last week’s orgies of violence served to remind us that it is not everyone, including those in Zanu PF, have moved from the previous administration whose supporters used mindless bloodletting and violence as the means to settle political differences.

The rioting Zanu PF youths were only last month arrested over illegal fees they were charging flea market operators at Machipisa Shopping Centre. These fees should be remitted to Harare City Council but no official is allowed to collect them.

So it is important for Mnangagwa to put his foot down on these youths and act decisively lest his messages of peace and unity among Zimbabweans are dismissed as mere politicking.

Mnangagwa knows very well how his rivals both in Zanu PF and outside have previously characterised him as a merchant of violence.

And they will be among those quick to remind ordinary Zimbabweans how his failure to act on thuggish behaviour acts to underline his “reputation” of abetting and aiding violence yet this could be far from being true.

Zanu PF youth leader Pupurai Togarepi would need to review having in his team such people, especially at a time the youth league has just launched #EDhasmyvote electoral campaign. DailyNews