By Daniel Chigundu
BUHERA WEST legislator Oliver Mandipaka says the country’s main opposition party MDC-T is to blame for all the violence that has taken place in the country since 1999.
Zimbabwe has experience bloody violent clashes during election periods dating back from 2000, while some acts of violence have also been recorded during various demonstrations.
Political activists such as Tonderai Nhira, Talent Mabika, Tichaona Chiminya, Itai Dzamara, and Nelson Chamisa have been victims of political violence, while some houses have been burnt and destroyed.
However political violence reached crescendo in 2008 during the presidential run-off were even SADC observers were not spared.
Speaking in the National Assembly, Mandipaka said violence only started in Zimbabwe when MDC-T was formed.
“At Banket Country Club in 1999, a political formation or movement was formed under the name MDC. This political formation was supported largely by commercial farmers. It is only then that we started to experience political violence and disturbances in this country.
“We sharply recall the food riots of 2000. We also recall the resistance to the land reform program; we also sharply recall in December 2001, that some Zimbabweans in the opposition assisted in the crafting of ZIDERA. The final push was spearheaded by none other than Mr. Morgan Richard Tsvangirai ‘Mazidhengere’ of Buhera.
“In 2008, we witnessed violence demonstration; leader of the opposition MDC-T, Richard Morgan ‘Mazidhengere’ of the Save totem is on record for instigating violence. There is an audio if you can still remember where we hear Mr. Tsvangirai saying, I will quote word for word; “what we want to tell you Mugabe today is that please go peacefully, if you do not go peacefully, we will remove you violently”. This is when we started to experience violent demonstration in this country as a result of this instigation,” he said.
Mandipaka added that Zimbabweans that are peace loving people and should not be like Syria or Libya. The former police officer also blamed independent media for portraying the country negatively.
He said the negative perception portrayed by the media resulted in the country being slapped with sanctions.
The Buhera West legislator added that people are allowed to demonstrate but they should not be violent and must respect such laws as the Public Order and Security Act.
“We are cognizant of the fact that our Constitution establishes the rights of citizens to protest, to demonstrate and express political views. Zimbabweans were made to live in perpetual fear because of unprecedented political attacks and physical attacks on innocent civilians.
“There was massive looting from ordinary people trying to eke a living. Some of the looting was carried out on informal traders and on some vendors. The wave of violence in that regard at that material time threatened national peace and we are all aware of that.
“Let us now look at the Rule of Law. We need to respect our own laws Mr. Speaker Sir. We also need to respect the Public Order and Security Act because it is our piece of legislation. We cannot be seen to be a lawless country and the police cannot stand and watch whilst protestors and illegal demonstrators attack defenseless citizens and officers on duty,” Mandipaka said.
He added that the ZRP have a constitutional duty, obligation and a moral duty to protect citizens from marauding youths.
Mandipaka’s sentiments come at a time when Tajamuka is reportedly organising a demonstration dubbed “Total Shutdown Zimbabwe” from the 20th to the 25th of June. –