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Lead President Linda Masarira issues 2020 statement on the Zimbabwean crisis

Urges ED Mnangagwa government to swiftly act on Mashurugwi

From the bottom of my heart…

I am deeply saddened and heartbroken by the current state of affairs in my country. Some of my erstwhile Comrades are plotting to use violence saying it has been a long time coming and long overdue. Let me hasten to give reproach and quip; Violence begets violence. One’s freedom of speech should never infringe on other people’s rights. One might wonder what has brought on this melancholy, so let me give you dear reader, a brief overview.

Zimbabwe attained its independence after a second guerrilla warfare dubbed the Second Chimurenga war. At independence in 1980, government was occupied by war veterans who were still dealing with war trauma, of which some to date never got counselling. 19 years down the line, Zimbabwe is still suffering from the effects of post war trauma – the only way Zanu PF government ever knew of dealing with conflict was through violence and silencing dissenting voices.

Since independence dissenting voices have been silenced using state militia, police and security agents. Zimbabweans went through horrendous encounters of the Gukurahundi massacres, land invasion violence, pre & post-election violence since 2000. Call to mind the gruesome terms ‘short sleeve or long sleeve’ in 2008; police brutality towards activists between 1998-2018 and the now the machete-wielding criminals named ‘mashurugwi’ and other political renegades taking advantage of the chaos are being used to settle political scores which is a recipe for disaster.

Whilst some churches, level headed civic society organizations and progressive activists like myself have been preaching peace, unity and tolerance over the past three years, some malcontents within activists and political parties have been abusing their popularity by inciting violence.

Dear Zimbabwe, violence will further divide us and destroy us as a people. There is no resolution that will ever be achieved through violent conduct. Its rather unfortunate that when the elephants fight the grass suffers. Right now most of the casualties of the terrorist attacks happening in the country are innocent people who do not even take part in politics. Some are already calling for protests which are not even attended by their own children yet they expect other people’s children to participate. Those who call for protests will be sitting comfortably in safe places, whilst the protesters will be dicing with death.

I am against any form of violence. Zimbabwe is a broken nation because of multiple cycles of violence perpetrated on its people for decades. We can’t mend what is broken using violence. Violence will further tear us apart &further divide us. Now is the time my fellow brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers to all work towards being Peace Makers.

We are all going through a tough phase as Zimbabweans and need to exercise restraint and to be tolerant of divergent views. It took 38 years to run down Zimbabwe and it is only foolhardy to expect our economy to bounce back overnight. No one deserves to die for other people’s political egos.

We are now in 2020 and soon Zimbabwe will be 40, life begins at 40. Let us begin this new life for Zimbabwe by uniting as a people in our diversity focusing on developing our once great nation.

I urge the church to continue praying for Zimbabwe and mediating between the political parties that are fighting for power. People shouldn’t be made to suffer for one to continue questioning legitimacy. The government of the day should desist from descending violently on unarmed civilians, protestors should respect the law of this land and protest peacefully. Those in the diaspora should stop inciting violence in the comfort of their homes.

Now is the time for conflict resolution through dialogue, truth telling, repentance and reconciliation. Zimbabwe will not progress so long we are not united as a people in our diversity. Depolarization of our political economy is critical at this juncture. It is easy to destroy in our anger and frustrations but it’s so difficult to reconstruct and rebuild.

I implore the government to deal with the MaShurugwi terrorists methodically and with a winning strategy in mind. A responsible government protects and cares for its citizens. Focus should be on development, production and reviving the economy of Zimbabwe for Zimbabweans.

God save Zimbabwe, Let’s stop the violence and nurture love. We will get there, together we can.

Linda Tsungirirai Masarira
LEAD President

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