3 March 2013

Zimbabwe: Nation Needs Peaceful, Undisputed Polls

editorial

Over the past few months, President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai created an impression that they had reached a deal that would ensure the coming elections will not be disputed.

The two politicians even claimed that whoever lost the polls would allow the winner to take over without problems.

However, the two leaders' rhetoric was exposed by the recent killing of 12-year-old Christpowers Maisiri in a horrific inferno in Headlands.

Whatever they agreed on in Harare, without taking concrete steps to root out militias and re-establish the rule of law, has not stopped violent youths in rural areas from terrorising their opponents.

These militias, who are blamed for the death of over 200 MDC supporters in the 2008 elections, are likely to be sharpening their pangas in anticipation of the June elections, if Maisiri's killing is anything to go by.

Their aim is to stop Zimbabweans from freely choosing leaders of their choice. Instead of making phony deals, Mugabe and Tsvangirai must set up an independent probe to establish the truth about Maisiri's killing.

Independent investigators should take up the case and bring perpetrators of political violence to book. Zimbabwe's partisan police, who have already ruled out foul play after making preliminary investigations, cannot be trusted to solve the case.

The probe is necessary as it could go a long way in showing that the principals to the government of national unity are genuine in their calls for a peaceful election.

It would also send a message to those who thrive on unleashing violence on opponents that their days are numbered. Selective application of the law has to end if Zimbabwe is to become a mature democracy.

No one is above the law and anyone fingered in political violence must be brought to book, regardless of their position or social standing.

The time is now ripe for international observers to come to Zimbabwe to monitor the situation.

Sadc must also ensure that the political parties are playing by the book if Zimbabwe is to have an election that will end the political uncertainty.

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