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Vigilante groups must be disbanded

Elections are the hallmark of representative democracy, allowing the people’s regular input in choices about leaders and policy. Yet, they are also competitive processes, unleashing conflict and tensions that could potentially destabilise the fabric of the State and societies.

File picture of Zanu PF youths

It is essential, therefore, that such tensions and conflict are minimised or outrightly eliminated.

We have a new paradigm of the powerful militia of vigilante squads namely The Order of the Vanguard — the MDC mujahideen; the Zanu PF-aligned Chipangano, Al Shabab et al.

It’s alarming that their services are being employed by the two biggest political parties, the MDC and Zanu PF. These hapless unemployed youths are promised juicy recruitment into State security agencies without recourse to academic qualifications, especially national security should their party win power.

This is evident in the overly political nature of national security operatives.

As Chinua Achebe said, the farmer who brings home ant-infested firewood should not complain when lizards start visiting.

Nelson Chamisa is being haunted by the Frankenstein monster he created, the Order of the Vanguard.

This freak militia has vandalised the democratic credentials of the MDC, its pay masters and financiers.

In the coming election, all parties must condemn this anarchism. It seems a weakness which provides fertile ground for political militia groups to strive continues to be there.

This is dangerous, especially if the first round of voting fails to produce a winner. A run-off is just too ghastly to contemplate. We all know what happened in 2008. We all recall that in 2008, the regime ordered a scorched-earth operation, levelling entire hamlets in the rural areas.

In a span of three weeks, the military and Zanu PF militia brought entire rural areas under the ruling party’s control, with an estimated death toll that ranged from 200 innocent villagers, and another 200 000 internally displaced, according to rights groups.

Rampant Zanu PF militia, styling themselves as war vets but actually made up of teenagers high on beer, amphetamines and marijuana, carried out house-to-house searches hunting for opposition supporters and sometimes carrying out on-the-spot executions. No one was spared as Zanu PF regarded them as threats to the regime.

After these occurrences in the past, no arrests were made and the culprits were always made to go scot-free. The verdict for this shambolic act must be custodial sentence. These militia must be disbanded, together with their financiers and made to face the wrath of the law. Daily News