Events of the past two weeks following the violent murder of a woman in Nyatsime have once again raised the spectre of political violence in our land.
Fortunately, with a few more months to go before our harmonised general elections, we are now forewarned and thus can forearm.
Any acts of institutionalised violence go beyond harm to immediate victims only; they challenge the authority of the State.
It is the role of the State to ensure citizens are and do feel safe at all times, whether close to, or away from electoral season.
Anything less amounts to monumental State failure, and thus requires prompt repair.
The State is larger than the Executive. It includes the three pillars, namely the Executive itself which is represented by the Government of the day; the Legislature, which under our bicameral system comprises the House of Assembly and the Senate, and the Judiciary represented by all tiers of our Bench.
The recent violence and arson in Nyatsime thus challenged all these three arms in equal measure.
This thus requires that all three must now respond in perfect concert, so that the authority of the State is never in doubt again, never gets challenged, let alone undermined as before.
It would be insincere and deceitful to link the murder of Moreblessing Ali to the violence which was subsequently visited on Nyatsime community.
That the two events were close to each other does not make them causal. The violent actions by the opposition were clearly preconceived and premeditated.
Much worse, they eerily recall a pattern we witnessed in post-electoral 2018, and again in early 2019. It has become an opposition modus operandi to unleash violence soon after elections.
That makes the violence and arson in Nyatsime very much in character.
Except for this disturbing predisposition to violence in the opposition, Nyatsime did not have to suffer the violence which engulfed it on that fateful day. Nearly three months before, Chitungwiza and many other parts of the country had held peaceful by-elections.
In those by-elections and soon after, no incidents of violence were recorded, thus debunking the myth that electoral violence is endemic to Zimbabwe.
It thus did not make sense that long after those peaceful by-elections, an isolated but tragic act of gender violence, even then committed outside party politics, provided a pretext for gratuitous political violence by the opposition.
Clearly, the political violence had been premeditated by the opposition which only hungrily waited for an excuse, however tenuous or remote.
A tragedy which should have united the same community across political divide, thus became a damning excuse for mayhem and arson.
Continued next page