As the country gradually marches towards the forthcoming elections it is worrying and naturally unsettling to witness MDC-T leaders constantly and consistently preaching the gospel of vengeance and violence against their political rivals.
Recently, the partyâ€™s Vice Chairperson, Morgan Komichi, during the burial of a party supporter, urged party youths to â€œrise up in your thousands and help Harareâ€. Komichi unflinchingly spelt out that the MDC-T youths should stand up and fight their political nemesis that were allegedly fingered for spearheading some violent clashes in the capital city.
This gospel of retribution and violence now evidently pervades the length and breadth of the pro-western movement with the partyâ€™s chairperson for the womenâ€™s league, Theresa Makone, having called on her followers to also rise up with their kitchen paraphernalia to fight against Zanu PF supporters.
In her delivery at the partyâ€™s 12th anniversary celebrations at Gwanzura Stadium, the co-Home Affairs Minister said women in the party were prepared to defend themselves with â€˜pots and pansâ€™ from perceived violence from Zanu PF.
These recent violent outbursts are preceded by similar calls from the partyâ€™s leadership during the recently concluded â€˜peace ralliesâ€™. During these â€˜peace ralliesâ€™, which one would soberly expect to be platforms of peace, reconciliation and nation building, MDC-T leaders literally fell over each other in their bid to inculcate an urgent sense of retaliation in their supporters against imaginary violence from their political enemies.
Instead of preaching forgiveness and reconciliation, senior MDC-T leaders have taken the opportunity of these â€˜peace ralliesâ€™ to plot retaliation, foment violence and exhibit intolerance.
The seeds of vengeance were ably sown even prior to the â€˜peace ralliesâ€™, by the newly installed militant MDC-T youth assembly that declared an â€˜eye for an eyeâ€™ policy where it would seek to generously employ violence as a tool to counter imagined attacks from Zanu PF.
In a highly quoted speech, the MDC-T youth assembly chairperson, Solomon Madzore was quoted saying, â€œWe, the youth assembly, as the vanguard of the party, are not only prepared to die for MDC, but also to defend our parents by any means necessary.â€
In later stages, the vengeance baton was ably passed on to the party president Morgan Tsvangirai who vociferously urged his party supporters to stand up and fight back against alleged attacks by Zanu PF supporters.
His candid support for vengeance was aptly captured in his speech during a â€˜peace rallyâ€™ at Mucheke Stadium in Masvingo where he unrestrainedly told his supporters to rise up and fight their political opponents.
â€œWe must mobilise and fight against any person who would want to mete violence on us. I urge you to mobilise and be prepared to fight anyone, irrespective of who that person is,â€ said Tsvangirai.
Strangely, these â€˜peace ralliesâ€™ have not only turned to be forums for vengeance but they have also become platforms of provocation. MDC-T leaders have unreservedly used these meetings to provoke their political opponents and other sectors they feel are against their cause.
During another â€˜peace rallyâ€™ at Mkoba Stadium in Gweru, Tsvangirai decided to shake the hornetâ€™s nest by challenging the service chiefs to shed off their military fatigue and enter into full time politics.
In his challenge Tsvangirai was quoted saying; â€œIf you want politics, remove the uniform and we will show you what politics isâ€.
This was purely an unwarranted and provocative statement designed to cause palpable disharmony between the military and the executive arm of the government. It is difficult to decipher how Tsvangirai thought such a statement would promote the spirit of peace as the rally was supposed to.
In another speech that was designed to provoke Zanu PF, MDC-T Secretary General Tendai Biti, at a â€˜peace rallyâ€™ held at Sakubva Stadium in Mutare accused the revolutionary party of being behind the death of the late national hero, General Solomon Mujuru.
He was widely quoted saying that; â€œWe hold Zanu PF for the killing of General Solomon Mujuru. Zanu PF invests in violence and they now engage in burning people.â€
Considering the tragic events that surrounded the painful death of General Mujuru, this allegation was deeply provocative and duly undermined investigative efforts by security forces to establish the cause of death. It clearly did not promote any peace but serve to evoke emotions that may lead to political clashes.
Notwithstanding these retaliatory and provocative statements, it must also be noted that there was too much hatred and political intolerance that pervaded these â€˜peace ralliesâ€™ thus qualifying the party as a violent entity bent on spreading this scourge of violence countrywide.
At a â€˜peace rallyâ€™ in Mkoba Stadium in Gweru, rowdy MDC-T youths manhandled and ejected a ZBC news crew accusing the journalists of being too sympathetic to Zanu PF.
This intolerance was replicated at other rallies where, not only journalists but other members of the public who were deemed to hold divergent views were violently chucked out of stadiums.
Intolerance also reared its ugly head during the Sakubva rally when the co-Minister of Home Affairs Theresa Makone had a heated altercation with some party members who wanted her to be dismissed from the party for holding different views from theirs. Makone suffered a minor stroke as a result of the skirmish and was subsequently admitted at a private hospital in Mutare for medical attention.
This event dramatically reveals that there was no peace being promoted at these gatherings which were wrongly dubbed â€˜peace ralliesâ€™. If anything, these gatherings were designed to promote hate, retribution and foment violence. They were manifestly anti-peace and tailor-made to provoke other political players into violence.
Antithetically, President Robert Mugabe has grabbed every opportunity to preach peace and tolerance to political rivals. Recently during the opening of Parliament and burial of the late General Mujuru, the President took the opportunity to slam violence and urged all Zimbabweans to foster peace and tolerance.
Likewise, we urge MDC-T political leaders to desist from preaching violence and intolerance but wake up to the need to unite Zimbabweans in peace and prosperity.
The opinions expressed in this article are the authorâ€™s and do not necessarily represent those of the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation.
The writer can be contacted on [email protected]