THE silly election season is upon us once again and in the coming weeks we are likely to see politicians doing everything in the book to outdo each other as they battle for votes.
Southern Eye Editorial
Some will say things they will regret when the campaigns are over as they drum up support for their parties. Experience has also taught us that some become extremely violent when cornered, resulting in displacement of people and even death.
Twenty-four days to go to the election, there has not been a major incident to suggest that we may sink to the 2008 chaos, but it is still too early to celebrate.
Relevant authorities such as the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) must be on alert for politicians that will incite violence through hate speech and irresponsible statements.
In that regard, we would like to draw ZEC and other stakeholders’ attention to a reckless statement by Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo on Saturday in his reaction to the formation of an election alliance betweenDumiso Dabengwa-led Zapu and the Welshman Ncube-led MDC.
Gumbo, who by Zimbabwean standards is considered a veteran politician, lashed out at the two parties claiming that they had formed a tribal alliance.
The only basis for his argument was that the two parties are led by people of Ndebele origin. Dabengwa is from Matabeleland while Ncube is from the Midlands.
Both their parties are perceived to be regional because they are headquartered in Bulawayo. Is Gumbo implying people from this region have no right to lead national parties? How does Zapu and MDC become tribal when they have structures in most parts of the country?
These perceptions are borne out of the way our people have been socialised through Zanu PF institutions since independence.
Why does Zanu PF always take anything emanating from Matabeleland as regional or tribal and considers things that emanate from any other parts of the country as national? It stops being a laughing matter when such stereotypes are perpetuated by parties that consider themselves as national, such as Zanu PF.
Gumbo and Zanu PF had no qualms about an alliance forged a few days ago by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn leader Simba Makoni who both hail from Manicaland.
Gumbo must not fool himself in thinking that Zimbabweans have forgotten the damage caused by Zanu PF’s tribal politics especially soon after independence, as the scars are still fresh.
Lest we forget, Zanu PF used the same excuse to unleash the 5 Brigade on the late Vice-President Joshua Nkomo and his Zapu party. In its total quest for power, Zanu PF momentarily forgot that Nkomo was a national leader and hunted him down like an animal, only to embrace him as Father Zimbabwe after the signing of the Unity Agreement on Dcember 22 1987.