Reverend Kenneth Mtata has expressed concern over increasing reports on political violence in the country. He said there is a need to find ways to establish and enhance peace, healing and reconciliation in the country. In a Twitter thread posted on Friday, Mtata traced violence to the precolonial era. He said violence is a tool those in power resort to in fear of losing power. We present the Twitter thread below:
ENDING VIOLENCE AND BLOODSHED IN ZIMBABWE
Recent developments have shown us that violence remains the most fundamental and urgent challenge to be resolved in Zimbabwe. To effectively do this, we need to first appreciate its deep-rootedness & systemic nature.
We cannot address violence in Zimbabwe without going back to our violent past. Violence characterized our pre-colonial past when fought and beat each other up for control of resources, force compliance and cooperation.
We were interrupted by the Rhodesian colonialists who used superior tools of violence to dispossess and subjugate all of us. We were then subjected to violent rule for almost a century. Many of our people were inhumanely treated, maimed and killed during this time. We then acquired equivalent tools of violence and fought back until we got our independence in 1980. But since our national imagination was not adequately inclusive, we reactivated violence to deal with difference, killing thousands of our own people between 1983 and 1987.Although there was relative peace in the 1990s, we saw the rise in politically motivated violence from 2000. Others think from 2000 to date, at least 4000 have been killed through politically motivated violence. Many more were injured and maimed. The rest live in fear.Our national flag has two red lines, one recalling the bloodshed in the past for our freedom & other line that looked to the future where no Zimbabwean blood would be spilt again. We betray our flag when we shed innocent blood of Zimbabweans. The preamble to our national constitution state that we are “united in our diversity by our common desire for freedom, justice and equality, and our heroic resistance to colonialism, racism and all forms of domination and oppression.” We desecrated our constitution by killing. /7 Injuring and killing fellow Zimbabweans speak against our shared cultural-religious values. The blood of thousands of innocent Zimbabweans continues to cry out like the blood of Abel. God hears this cry and asks, “where is your brother?” We produced many development blueprints since independence. We cannot make progress where strength of force and not force of ideas is the basis for cooperation. As the SDGs say, there is no development without peace and there is no peace without justice.
WHAT SHOULD WE DO?First, we must address the root causes of fears and insecurities of all Zimbabweans but especially for those in power who when threatened with loss of power and control resort to the use of violence.Those currently in power in Zimbabwe are accused of having committed crimes against humanity. They have been told many times that the day they are no longer in power, they will be arrested, tried, and put in prison. They have been told that their possessions will be taken away.
All this creates anxiety and insecurity for many. Their only guarantee of security will be violence. To extricate ourselves from this trap, the nation must negotiate a transitional justice process in which both justice and reconciliation are realized.
Secondly, we need to abandon our winner-takes-all politics and move to a proportional representation system where no political party can have absolute majority or absolute power and entitlement beyond accountability. This will also cater for minority voices.
Third, we need a truly independent and respected mechanism to foster healing and reconciliation. We need to heal the wounds of the past as well as forge new national pride beyond partisan politics. While the NPRC is in place, mistrust makes it paralyzed and dysfunctional.
Fourth, we need to inculcate new values of non-violent ways to resolving differences and attaining consensus and compliance in the family, in schools and in the justice and security systems.