Time to say no to violent polls

violenceSome among us will, as the police have been trying to do, seek to convince us that the brutal murder of farmer Kobus Joubert was nothing but just another unfortunate case of common crime.

But one needs not be a rocket scientist, to use the tired clich, to know that the murder of Joubert is part and parcel of the renewed onslaught against commercial farmers and all perceived opponents of President Robert Mugabe and Zanu (PF). It is not ordinary crime. It is about the impending elections.

The pattern of events is all too familiar that even the village idiot can tell. It begins with an election looming on the horizon, followed by President Robert Mugabe rallying his Zanu (PF) party supporters, as he has been doing of late, to rise and defeat the Western-backed puppets his euphemism for anyone who does not agree with him at the polls. Then, soon, reports of violence start to filter through from the rural and commercial farming areas. Huts burnt down, villagers and white commercial farmers assaulted, raped, tortured and even killed.

Mugabe two weeks ago vowed that the power-sharing government must not survive beyond its two-year lifespan that lapses next February. He demanded that polls be held by mid next year. Ever since the Presidents call for new elections we have witnessed an escalation in political violence in rural areas and attacks against commercial farmers.

The police, as they have always done when Mugabes supporters are on the wrong side of the law, are mere spectators as hired thugs break into homes, loot property, assault defenceless women and murder innocent citizens of this country.

Joubert is not the first to be killed in this way. He shall not be the last. As we move closer to election day, whenever that will be, we shall see more violence and murders.

But we have Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirais word on this one. Addressing a meeting organised by civil society groups last month to discuss political violence, Tsvangirai said he would not commit . to any election if it is a declaration of war.

We urge the Prime Minister to stick to his word. He has saved Zanu (PF) once by agreeing to join them in a unity government even after the people had rejected them in March 2008. But not this time round!

Should Mugabe and Zanu (PF) wish to maim and murder their way to electoral victory, Tsvangirai and his MDC-T party should simply pull out of the vote. The lessons of June 2008 are clear: a Zanu (PF) victory in an election boycotted by the MDC-T because it was brutal and undemocratic will be hollow. It will not give Mugabe the legitimacy without which his government will not last.

Post published in: Editor: Wilf Mbanga

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