editorial comment

DEFENCE deputy minister Victor Matemadanda has emphatically put paid to any possible hope of political tolerance ever visiting the troubled land of Zimbabwe after he promised fire and brimstone to anyone who attempts to protest against Zanu PF’s continued misrule and political dictatorship. It is very sad to hear a whole minister, in a government which purports to be reforming and abhors discrimination of any sort, to threaten innocent citizens with instant and swift death via the bullet at a time many Zimbabweans are dying of hunger and preventable illnesses in the midst of millions of hectares of fertile land and hundreds of well-built health institutions.

Matemadanda’s frame of mind, in this day and age, is more that shocking. It is heartrending that in this 21st century someone unequivocally tells us: “Soldiers are not trained to beat up demonstrators, but to kill …. last time the police were called first, but failed to contain the situation because they are not ruthless enough, but soldiers are trained to kill.

People should not dice with death to the extent of dancing in front of army tankers (sic). Politics is not a hugging and kissing game. People should not fool themselves by dancing in front of army tankers (sic), they will meet their fate.”

If indeed, the world over, politics was practiced in the manner Matemadanda is lecturing us on, then there would not be any real nation to talk of.

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There would be complete anarchy and chaos as people fought each other to gain political power because those in power would perpetually be fighting tooth and nail to stay in power using tanks and guns.

We are hearing it for the first time that the police are trained to beat up citizens who express their concerns when government errs; and that soldiers are trained to kill the country’s citizens if they ever decide to speak truth to power.

So is Matemadanda, indeed, now confessing that the soldiers, who shot and killed dozens of unarmed and fleeing citizens in August last year and in January this year, were actually given specific orders to conduct those heinous act?

Surely how can a country prosper when the people are ruled by the gun and living under constant fear that if they protest, tanks will be rolled on the streets to blast them into pieces? The idea of using violence to force people into submitting to a certain viewpoint or agenda should be condemned.

Politics of violence should never be given a chance in our society because it breeds intolerance. It must be condemned and resisted. Only two year ago, Matemadanda cringed when he was bashed by the Augustine Chihuri led police force. One wonders, is this the Matemadanda (pronounced Matemedhanda) who accused late former President Robert Mugabe of dictatorship forcing him to briefly find succour in the opposition MDC at the height of divisive Zanu PF politics? Time will tell!