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THE current wave of violence which has been unleashed on innocent would-be voters in the forthcoming by-elections in various constituencies, particularly in the worst hit area of Hurungwe West, betrays an acute level of intolerance.

Political parties in Zimbabwe — particularly the ruling ZANU-PF and to a lesser extent the opposition — have never been able to brook differences.

Differences in political affiliation and opinion have seen many losing life and limb, which is very unfortunate, especially in a country that claims to abide by democratic tenets.

Never mind that the new Constitution provides for freedom of association and expression among other democratic tenets, agents of the ruling party remain un-persuaded by such civility and humanity and will certainly not be bothered by such “constitutional inconveniences”.

That the powers-that-be would be privy to such outbursts of violence and not do enough, let alone anything at all, to curtail this maiming of people in the name of politics is regrettable. That people’s lives continue to be sacrificed, election after election, at the altar of a few more votes and a few more electoral victories cannot be allowed to continue.

Apparently people’s lives, in countries like Zimbabwe, are worthless than electoral votes.

Whatever happened to “your vote is your choice” mantras? Beating people into submission just to help a party win a few votes should not have a place in modern day society where election contest should be about ideas and not brute force.

Nameless and faceless people have been blamed for the meting out of the violence, but if the powers-that-be are not sponsoring or sanctioning this, we dare them to put a stop to it.

Silence or turning the other way when such is such is happening, shows complicity and what is worse, sponsorship.

We are appalled by the continued under-valuing of citizens at the altar of political expediency. Enough of this, people’s lives are worth more than a few ballots.

Messages of peace have apparently failed to take root in this country when at every election some limbs and lives are sacrificed. Where is the Organ of National Healing when we need it most?

What perpetrators and sponsors of this violence fail to appreciate is the hidden cost of this violence on the nation. The maimed will need hospitalisation, medicines and all that accompanies it.

Additionally, affected or injured people become incapacitated and have to absent themselves from work which means loss of production. All this in an economically struggling country!

Stop it. This violence is disgusting to say the least.

Source : Financial Gazette