Editorial Comment

TWO days after President Emmerson Mnangagwa categorically stated that he was absolutely in no hurry whatsoever to institute any reforms — be they political, socio-economic, or otherwise, riot police, bashed defenceless Hararians on Wednesday leaving many injured.

The action put paid to the view that the President has opened the country’s democratic space.

From what we can believe, the source of the police anger was opposition leader Nelson Chamisa’s insistence to go ahead with his Hope of the Nation Address.

This is the umpteenth time the police, in their very informed wisdom or lack of, have crushed anything the main opposition party has tried to organise. The police have curiously been averse to the MDC’s attempt to exercise their democratic right to free speech and assembly.

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What is astoundingly disturbing about this whole debacle is that Mnangagwa’s government appears to have completely thrown all caution to the wind and has seemingly decided to play hardball at a time the community of nations is refusing to relax demands that the southern African nation observe human rights as part of conditions to readmit troubled Zimbabwe back into the club of nations.

The police action on Wednesday tells us that Mnangagwa has decided to play macho and stand his ground. This is quite unfortunate, indeed.

It is either the President directed the police to descend heavily on opposition supporters or this culture is a result of self-deployment by key figures in his government in an effort to endear themselves to the President.

Clearly, this has nothing to do with the welfare of the ordinary and long suffering Zimbabweans, but it has everything to do with warped individual egos. It is unfortunate that Zimbabwean politics is now so toxic that the nation is being held to ransom by self-serving elites.

Why is it that this regime is so impetuous that it would rather let an entire 16 million people perpetually agonise over issues that can be easily solved.

It boggles the mind why government would rather bash and butcher its hapless citizens just to prove that it is the one in charge. It would rather trample on the country’s rule book and rip it just to remain in power.

The government’s penchant to blunder at every turn is more than extraordinary. It is becoming evident that the government is growing paranoid.

Bashed, battered, abused and trodden on, the Zimbabweans may appear hapless at the moment; but every dog has its own day.