by Elijah Chihota
Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) is defined as “a thread-like chain of nucleotides carrying the genetic instructions used in the growth, development, functioning and reproduction of all known living organisms and many viruses.
DNA stores biological information”. In short the DNA of a person contains his genes which shapes how the person will look like or behave when he/she grows.
Like living organisms, political parties have their DNAs as well. The MDC Alliance was born out of various political parties some of which were once offshoots of the original MDC formed in 1999. These offshoots include the MDC-T, MDC-N, MDC 99 and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) which coalesced in late 2017 in preparation for the 2018 harmonised elections. Unleashing violence has become the MDC Alliance’s trademark which is entrenched in its DNA.
The MDC Alliance seems to have inherited the bad spirit of unleashing violence. For those who do not know how this started or those who needs to be reminded. The late MDC-T leader, Morgan Tsvangirai while addressing a crowd of about 25 000 people at Rufaro Stadium on 30 September 2000 to celebrate the first anniversary of the founding of the MDC uttered his infamous statement. Tsvangirai said “The time for mass action is now. We say to Robert Mugabe, if you don't want to go peacefully, we will remove you violently. This country cannot afford Mugabe for one day longer”. Honestly, this was the genesis of an orgy of political violence to follow.
In 2007, the MDC-T linked Democratic Resistance Committees (DRCs) unleashed an orgy of violence targeting security forces especially the Police. This saw Marimba and Harare Central Police Stations as well as another one in Mutare being petrol bombed. The same DRCs took their violence to the 2008 elections threatening to make the “country ungovernable”.
When the coalition was conducting selection of its candidates, an unprecedented level of intra-party political violence was witnessed. In Dangamvura/Chikanga Constituency in Manicaland Province saw Prosper Mutseyami being assaulted by a metal rod on the head and left for dead. Mutseyami was wrestling with Lynette Karenyi-Kore to land the seat which was finally landed by Mutseyami.
In Glen View South constituency, MDC Alliance presidential candidate, Nelson Chamisa imposed Vimbai Tsvangirai-Java yet the electorate preferred Gladmore Hakata. All sorts of weapons ranging from catapults to shamboks were used by rival camps. “Intra-party violence for me is against my father's wishes. I take it from him. My father is my mentor; he was my political mentor. Morgan Tsvangirai was a man of peace; he was not a man of violence. I don't believe in violence; as a party, we don't believe in violence. It's only that sometimes, people come with those different elements of violence in the party,” she was quoted. Ironically her father promised to “remove Mugabe violently”.
When campaigns were warming up, there was violence against those perceived to be “rebels”. One such case was witnessed at Muchakata Business Centre in Chiwundura Constituency on 29 June 2018, where MDC Alliance supporters who were bused from Mkoba Constituency by Amos Chibaya were involved in skirmishes with independent candidate Blessing Murondiwa’s supporters which resulted in the injury of two people.
It has since emerged that the MDC-T was topping in cases of violence recorded during the month of June. The Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) noted that the main opposition MDC-T perpetrated 16 cases of electoral intra party violence while ZANU PF recorded only three cases.
A true Statesman in the mould of His Excellency, President Emmerson Mnangagwa had this to say about proper election conduct “When we go to the elections you should not fight. When people support their parties, it’s their choice. We should work for the people not be selfish. There should be justice and national reconciliation because we cannot progress when communities are in conflict. God bless Zimbabwe”. The late Vice President, John Nkomo, said these famous words “Peace begins with me, Peace begins with all of us” in the quest of promoting peace among citizens and surprisingly the MDC Alliance does not want peace.
Meanwhile, the Electoral Act on dealing with politically motivated violence has put in place a remedy. Section 133K “Special penalty for politically-motivated violence or intimidation Sub-Section (1) states that “A court which convicts a person of an offence involving politically-motivated violence or intimidation committed during an election period may, in addition to any other penalty it imposes on the convicted person, prohibit him or her from campaigning or taking any further part in the election”.
Unbeknown by the MDC Alliance, European Union Observer Mission (EUOM) delegation is around and has since deployed its officers on the ground. During previous electoral editions, the opposition would froth on the mouth accusing ZANU PF of unleashing violence, but it has since emerged that the opposition is in the fore front of such heinous acts.