Stop the violent slogans

The decision made by the three political parties in the inclusive government to campaign against political violence must be strongly commended. There is, however, one more step that the parties need to carry out as part and parcel of this campaign.

John Makumbe
John Makumbe

They need to stop the chanting of slogans that appear to promote violence. All the political parties in this country are guilty of using slogans that clearly promote some form of violence against their rivals. This is unfortunate as their supporters will obviously practice what the leaders preach through these slogans. A brief examination of some of these evil slogans will enlighten our leaders.

By far, the worst slogan that promotes violence is Zanu (PF)’s “Down with so and so!” “Pasi na nhingi!” The slogan actually means that person should be killed, or should be dead. This is obviously a call to those that can do it to eliminate the individual. That is why it is very unfortunate to watch ZTV and view a little child shouting, “Pasi na Tsvangirai!” as happened one evening last week.

In civilised countries, radio and television stations will not broadcast any speeches, poems or utterances that contain statements that promote violence or hate speech. There is nothing wrong with the “Pamberi ne kubatana!” part of the Zanu (PF) slogan, but the “Pasi…” part of that slogan is the problem. It has to be stopped right away if we are serious about promoting non-violence in our politics.

The MDC (both formations) make use of several violence promoting slogans, including the one where political rivals are raised or lifted up smashed together and then slammed on the ground, “Bwaaa!” This is clearly promotion of violence through sloganeering. Another one is the popular “Chisa mbama chisa!” or “Tshisa mbama tshisa!” We all know what the “mbama” or clap does – it slams the face or cheek of an individual.

I know that this is in reference to the open palm, the symbol of the MDC. But the “Chisa or Tshisa” aspect can result in the interpretation of this slogan as urging the audience to beat up their opponents or political rivals. I have never viewed the open palm as a “mbama” but as a “chanza.”

There is a huge difference between the two. The “mbama” is for beating up or slapping someone, while the “chanza” is for giving or receiving something, or greeting someone. The MDC has to stop the use of both these slogans if we mean business about ending political violence.

The MDC-T also commonly uses this popular slogan that ends with “Hezvoko…Bwaaa!” So who is being slammed to the ground? Is this not a call to violence? This too has to be eliminated as a slogan used by a political party that abhors violence. The MDC’s “Chinja…maitiro” slogan is obviously a peaceful slogan. This can continue to be used without causing anyone to fear that they might become victims of violence.

I know a constituency where the incumbent MP is working hard to discourage the use of violent slogans. It is not easy, but some progress is already being made. We need this to be the case throughout the country.

Would it not be a good exercise for the leaders of our political parties to promote the composing of slogans that do not promote violence?

This should be done by their supporters who know well what possible slogans can best mobilise people to support their party. I challenge all the political leaders to try this and see what will happen. I despise ZTV for crudely abusing a child to utter such foul words against the Prime Minister.

Post published in: News

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