By Garikai Mafirakureva | NewsDay |
Former Masvingo Central legislator Jeffreyson Chitando (MDC Alliance) yesterday demanded an apology from Zanu PF youths over June 27, 2008 violence in which hundreds of opposition supporters were killed ahead of a presidential run-off poll that year.
The violence resulted in the late MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai pulling out of the race after Zanu PF apparatchiks, working with soldiers, National Youth Service graduates and war veterans, unleashed a wave of violence on opposition supporters in a bid to overturn the late Zanu PF leader Robert Mugabe’s first round poll defeat.
The violence left over 300 maimed or dead and thousands displaced, according to human rights watchdogs.
Chitando told NewsDay that it was imperative for Zimbabweans to adopt a culture of apologising for wrongs done in the past so that they do not recur.
He said while the current crop of Zanu PF youths might not have been involved in the violence, an apology was still in order.
“Zanu PF youths should not be controlled by their old aged leaders,” Chitando said.
“They must know it’s best to build a better Zimbabwe for tomorrow. The only stumbling block so far is that the perpetrators are not prepared to own up to their mistakes.
“Apologising shows a strong character and good leadership. Those who fear to apologise are weak and are failures. The future of Zanu PF is in the present youths’ ability to take the bull by its horns and apologise. The country can only move forward if we are united.”
The former legislator added that MDC youths should also be prepared to forgive the perpetrators, adding that violence must not be tolerated during the forthcoming 2023 elections.
“The nation is divided due to political violence and failure to apologise, as well as lack of forgiveness. If Zanu PF leadership decides to apologise and the MDC accepts the apology, all problems will vanish.
“Zanu PF must know that it has committed a lot of atrocities — from Gukurahundi, Murambatsvina, the 2000 to 2008 political violence and recently in 2021 in the urban areas, it has masterminded the demolition of property. MDC Alliance and people of Zimbabwe must accept the apology and be able to forgive.”
Zanu PF director for information Tafadzwa Mugwadi refused to comment on the matter.
“I have nothing to say,” Mugwadi said.
But Zanu PF acting deputy secretary for youth affairs, Tendai Chirau, alleged that Chitando was only seeking relevance and a political come back.
“There is no objectivity in Chitando’s utterances. It is one sided and he was speaking for his party, MDC Alliance. This is mere political propaganda because the issue of violence can be traced back to MDC when Tsvangirai also once uttered that the late Mugabe could be removed from office violently if he refused to go peacefully,” Chirau said.
“We have institutions that are responsible for dealing with conflict and make sure it is resolved. One of them is the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission. There is no reason to try and portray the MDC as sacrosanct. We also have our Zanu PF youths who were attacked and maimed by MDC thugs.”