LEGISLATORS in the National Assembly have demanded that Home Affairs minister Kazembe Kazembe must issue a ministerial statement explaining how his ministry will curb growing political violence in the country ahead of the 2023 polls.
But one of the main culprits accused of instigating political violence, Zanu PF has vehemently denied reports implicating the ruling party in a spate of violence across the country.
The party claims that there have been no cases of political violence since 2017.
The issue was raised as a matter of national interest by opposition Budiriro MP Costa Machingauta who demanded that the statement must outline police preparedness to curb electoral violence.
“We need to ensure free and fair polls and Kazembe must explain plans for the police to curb violence so that Zimbabwe has faith in the police,” he said.
Deputy speaker of the National Assembly Tsitsi Gezi asked the Zanu PF chief whip, Pupurai Togarepi, to convey the message to Kazembe.
Polls in Zimbabwe have been characterised by brutal killings and violence since 2000.
Zanu PF director of Information Tafadzwa Mugwadi on Wednesday, however, told a Twitter space discussion hosted by the Zimbabwe Election Advocacy Trust that since 2017 when President Emmerson Mnangagwa took over power following a coup, his new dispensation has been non-violent.
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He accused the opposition of fuelling political violence, despite that during the campaign period to the March 26 by-election, Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) member Mboneni Ncube was murdered in Kwekwe by Zanu PF members who stormed a stadium and attacked opposition supporters during party leader Nelson Chamisa’s address.
Chamisa’s envoy was also attacked in December 2021 by alleged Zanu PF supporters during the CCC leader’s meet-the-people rallies.
“We have been able to deal with violence since 2017. There are organisations that have been paid to make false claims about this country and we will not tolerate them. We have a group of people in the opposition and civil society organisations who are inciting violence. We have a formula on how to deal with them. This does not mean that we are going to kill them, Zanu PF doesn't believe in violence,” Mugwadi said.
He accused CCC of being sell-outs after the party called on the United Nations to observe the country’s 2023 elections.
“They want our elections to be interfered with by the Americans. We can't celebrate such people. We will deal with them on the ballot paper. We would speed up our laws that are against supporting the whites,” Mugwadi said.
He then attacked the Nyatsime 14, and legislators Job Sikhala (Zengeza West) and Godfrey Sithole (Chitungwiza North), describing them as ‘violent criminals’.
“Sikhala was arrested as a criminal not as a political party person. Pius Jamba (Zanu PF member who murdered Moreblessing Ali in Nyatsime) was arrested for his deeds. Pius is a violent criminal but in Sikhala's case you think it’s political. These are all criminals.”
But columnist, Tendai Mbofana, who was part of the discussion said: “Political leaders sow seeds of violence. Youths are being used to incite violence. They are paid petty money to go and destroy somebody's house and it’s really sad. These people must be given jobs.
“We cannot compare previous violence before 2017 and the current violence saying the previous violence was better. Violence remains violence and needs to be addressed.” Another columnist, Itai Zimunya said: “This selective use of violence becomes problematic; the reason why we are having voter apathy in Zimbabwe is because of violence which is happening in the country. This violence started during the Rhodesian era, and government inherited that bad behaviour and is using the same tools to attack citizens,” Zimunya said.