Excesses against MDC crowds making bad situation worse

guest column:Learnmore Zuze

THE term rogue State is largely a curious one in political science, with grave connotations on how a country is perceived by other progressive nations. There is no State that formalises and prides itself in being termed a rogue State, but this term is earned through conduct.

The ideal governance of a country should stress political tolerance and place the interests of a nation first. To the contrary, the hallmark of a rogue State is repression and intolerance of political dissent. It is against this backdrop that it should be emphasised boldly that the needless State security heavy-handedness against the opposition MDC each time it congregates is a massive dent on Zimbabwe, a country so desperately in need of being embraced by the progressive world.

Could it be that no one is realising the palpable irony in expending thousands of scarce United States dollars in air travel in engagement efforts while our country reeks with an acrid smell of an abhorrent human rights record?

If there is one common sad feature that has stood head and shoulder above others on the downside of human rights this year, it has been the glaring State intolerance of opposition political gatherings.

Very few of any MDC gatherings have taken place with the smoothness expected in democratic States. It has been constantly a cat and mouse game.

One certain thing is that the opposition will continue getting some imaginary excuses from authorities should they want to have political gatherings. The clashes have always ended up violent and it is quite revealing that the same cannot be said of ruling party gatherings where the police have often been seen beefing up security ensuring no skirmishes break out.

However, an MDC political gathering has always ended up with maimed and teargassed people. The new low is the reported weekend shooting by alleged police at MDC leader Nelson Chamisa in Marondera at a tree planting event.

A plethora of theories have emerged in light of this incident given that it defeats all logic that an assassination attempt would be done in such a brazen manner.

The rational question to ask is; what would be achieved by shooting Chamisa except more chaos and more alienation of the country? Of course, there have been persistent denials by authorities each time such incidents occur.

Imaginary forces have been singled out for carrying out savage acts against critics of the government. Even going by the Marondera police narrative that the gathering was illegal, the question still bounces back at the nature of force used. Legally, the police are well within the confines of the law to use what is described as “proportional force”.

But, as it were, one can try to dig into all the infamous clashes between police and MDC this year and one thing sticks out. The force being used by the police in quelling MDC protests and gatherings is clearly disproportionate.

There is no point in firing teargas into a crowd standing still, which is not threatening any property or human interest. Violence is only unleashed where a crowd gets violent and is attempting to commit a physical crime.

A recent case in point would be what the world witnessed as Chamisa tried to present his Hope of the Nation Address (Hona) just some two weeks ago at Morgan Tsvangirai House. The police descended ruthlessly on every human being, whether a vendor or passerby with diabolical gusto. It must be fully understood that the brutality on the opposition and the shutting of all democratic space means more alienation for Zimbabwe. The crushing of dissent and brutal tactics can only mean more hunger and de-recognition of Zimbabwe as a country.

It is now a widely-held perception that probably there are some people bent on painting the Emmerson Mnangagwa-led government as an unrepentant fascist State. It is not difficult to understand why this theory has somewhat gained currency.

It is pure lack of rationale and the absurd manner with which the opposition is being targeted for attack. What makes the case worse is the unintelligible denial of things which take place in the full glare of the public.

Zimbabwe will remain ostracised from countries with good governance as long as brutal ways of addressing the opposition are employed.

The police reaction to the MDC is now very predictable; it is as if to say the MDC must not exist as a party. The MDC has, in a way, been “illegalised” to the extent that it cannot freely carry out business in Zimbabwe.

Even during the time of the late ex-President Robert Mugabe, the level of repression was not as brazen as we witness today. At the end of it all, it must be noted that the greatest losers as a result of such suppressive acts are the people of Zimbabwe.

The country will continue to deteriorate economically and skills flight and hunger will persist. The image of the country is being soiled.