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Barbaric attacks are uncalled for

I READ with great sadness reports of the attack on Harare North MP Trudy Stevenson, Linos Mushonga, Simangele Manyere and others by youths suspected to be loyal to the MDC faction led by Morgan Tsvangirai.

Such a barbaric attack

is really uncalled for.

I would however like to commend the Tsvangirai faction leadership for the commitment they have demonstrated by appointing a commission of inquiry made up of people outside the party structures.

This is the first time in Zimbabwean politics I have heard a commission composed of lawyers who are not senior officials in a political party being appointed to investigate an incident involving violence.

While officials from Stevenson’s faction have been quick to accuse the Tsvangirai faction, it is sad to recall that when activists from Tsvangirai’s faction were assaualted in Bulawayo by youths suspected to belong to Professor Arthur Mutambara’s faction, we didn’t hear that party’s leadership condemn violence in the same manner MPs Tendai Biti and Nelson Chamisa have done.

Not only have they condemned the act, but a commission of inquiry comprising a lawyer from Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights has been put in place to investigate the incident.

I am also happy that Zimcet has also pledged to investigate the incident. Any claims by anybody that the Tsvangirai faction condones violence is therefore very unfortunate, especially juxtaposed to the deafening silence by officials from the Mutambara faction when Tsvangirai narrowly escaped an attack.

I may not have first-hand knowledge of the situation prevailing in the country today following the attack on Stevenson and others, but media reports remind me of the atmosphere that pervaded Zimbabwe in December 2001 following the murder of Cain Nkala.

The Mugabe regime was very quick to accuse the MDC, whose youths and officials were arrested, only to be acquitted by a court of law.

The best officials from Stevenson’s party can do is to co-operate with the police, the commission that has been put in place, Zimcet and other organisations interested in the probe. It is sad that they seem intent on seizing such an unfortunate incident as an opportunity to get publicity.

Whoever the culprits are, and whichever party they belong to, they should be brought to book and punished.

Political parties should condemn and discourage their youths from violent activities, even by their own activists.

I wish Stevenson and her injured colleagues a speedy recovery.

Benjamin Chitate,

New Zealand.

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