Zimabawe: If Violence Erupts in 2013 Elections
By Tapiwa Kapurura, zimeye.org
The continually reported signs and predictions of looming violence statistics at grassroots level in Zimbabwe remain unsettling on the mind of any ordinary but concerned citizen. Many will recall 2008 as the most violent year in the last two decades in Zimbabwe. Such 2008 experience should be a teachable phase that must be avoided at all costs. No political party is worth dying for. After all, we are all civilized citizens of Zimbabwe. We should not be savages that eat their young for not agreeing with them. This news about violence comes as a surprise especially after the forged GPA where shared tasks, responsibilities and civility are assumed to be the operating mainstay for an ideal democracy that benefits the nation at large. The refreshed surfacing of violence simply reflects a craving for violence, acts of hypocrisy and absence of credibility and ill-intended intentions by some of the players in the tripartite agreement. While it also resembles how incorrigible some political leaders are in their love for blood, such catalysis for violence marks a clear symptom of lack of confidence in a potential clean victory come 2013.
While violence dissuades folks to freely express themselves regarding available political choices, such an objective remains short-lived and only works among the religiously hypnotized. Out of abundance of caution, prudent folks may most likely act pretentiously to avoid attracting the much-resented harassment and torture by political party bullies. To protect their safety, they sheepishly cooperate with the bullies in exchange for immediate guarantees of peace but when the big day comes, the supposed disciples become turncoats that make wise and independent choices in the ballot box. The same concept helps to explain why notoriously-violent political parties often carry misleading popularity statistics that are gauged by rally attendance figures. Not everyone who screams the political name puts on party regalia and worships a common leader will vote for that party when the big day comes. Not everyone in rally attendance is present to demonstrate loyalty. Some turn up just to show face, or feed on free lunch or simply to meet missed friends.
While lewd acts of violence remain timelessly irresponsible, not a single political party claims responsibility. Police is often at a loss as to what action to take especially where its non-partisan role is placed under compromise. Simultaneously, those who are on the ground have a frequent political party name that perches on their lips once the word “violence” is mentioned. Interestingly, some folks who serve as party agents do not get it right all the time. At times they are caught red-handed and in helpless situations, as agents in the cause, they are abandoned or disowned by their principals and left to suffer alone once placed on spot light. While the crusaders of violence continue to disclaim responsibility, the circumstances on the ground openly speak well for themselves. With the potential for more unrest on the horizon, it is therefore expedient especially at this hour to remind all political party leaders in Zimbabwe together with their zealous agents that 2013 is going to be a different year from 2008. There will be lots of surprises based on information awareness and the capacity to make wise choices regardless of brow beating and physical assaults. Actually the more the assaults, the better the push to the masses to disown a party and opt for those that promise peace, stability and development.
Past victims of violence have since incorrigibly stuck on their new choices. No matter how sweet the vote campaign may sound, the electorate already knows what they want. They already know how political parties have been operating and serving the masses. They also know the expected qualities of true leaders that can serve them well. In that capacity they are informed on skills to avoid the 2008 pitfalls. Their family members and close friends are in solidarity with their beliefs and causes. The 2008 victims of political violence and intimidation have already suffered their fair share of bruises and bumps. Besides the endured pain and humiliation, they have been left wiser, more mature and informed about how and why to make certain choices in 2013.
With that rampant awareness among the electorate, political parties prone to violence and intimidation do so at the expense of their own standing and reputation. Their lack of reform becomes detrimental to their survival on this informed and seasoned terrain. By engaging in needless violence, they are only chasing the voter away. Empty words that do not correspond to practical action have become insultingly rancid. Violence is now the shift paradigm for much-needed reverse campaign mechanism that urges the frustrated voter into trying other available menu options. No political party is worth dying for. To be physically hurt for expressing one’s political choice simply works to drive the voter into inquiring about other political parties on the election menu. A search for peace, justice, safety and equality will prod the voter to make bold decisions that protect long term personal interests.
Even uniformed forces deployed by authorities to harass and torture civilians in high density suburbs are unknowingly participating in the same reverse campaign strategy. They are doing so by pulling the ears and peeling the eyes of the cowed masses to seriously consider other peaceful political options on the list. At times, some of those forces deployed to torture masses find it painful to obey such unreasonable orders from the top. It’s just that they cannot risk being charged with insubordination. The victims of torture and harassment also question the rationale for such heavy handedness in an alleged democracy and are pushed to explore other options. No one wants to live in fear or to go to bed uncertain of what may befall her once she catches sleep. No sane person celebrates pain, torture or intimidation. No one wants to be sacrificed for aesthetic political party business. No well-balanced citizen welcomes loss of life, property or wanton massacre of beloved family members. It attracts even more scorn and scrutiny when overzealous folks get carried away as they excessively punish free speech activists to please their hypocritical principals who vehemently condemn violence by the day and order gruesome murders by night. Violence remains bad. An eye for an eye will simply make the world blind.
2013 will be different from 2008. The internet has grown in leaps and bounds and left man smarter and better informed. Information has become the greatest form of power that no authority can alienate from any individual. Facts and figures are now readily available on the web by the click of a second. No more empty promises for cathedrals to all-night prayerful apostolic folks in Glen Norah valleys. Simultaneously, no more promises for decades of free lunch to gullible grassroots folks. Everything is now accounted through the web and can be verified and challenged to the point. Real leaders now speak with guarded mouths for fear of being underlined on fake and inconsiderate promises. As the ideal safety net, the web has remained replete with juicy news, reports, findings and alerts at a nanosecond pace. This powerfully fluid form of technology tool has become an unstoppable campaign tool with various options to appeal to a cross section of the masses without fear or favor. Consequently, the world has been left a much improved, wiser and richer place than ever before. Now that every right thinking citizen is awake, conscious and alert, the extremities of puerile propaganda and inane brainwashing have been drastically cut to size. Unlike before, a spade now remains a real spade and not a shovel. Thankfully, considerable major political actors have reformed and started disembarking from their busy high horses, hats in hands, to meet the once taken-for-granted voter. Soon, their hard core extremist agents will also be crawling from the Tower of Babel to align with the electorate needs.