By Anna Chibamu
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa Wednesday reiterated the need for political players to shun violence as the country prepares for the 2023 general election.
Mnangagwa said this during his State of the Nation Address (SONA) at the New Parliament Building in Mt Hampden.
The calls for peace come as violent clashes have rocked the country less than a year before the country goes to the polls in 2023.
The violence has led to serious injuries among opposition MPs recently and the death of a political activist Mohammed Ali in Nyatsime, Chitungwiza.
“I wish to reiterate that the attainment of Vision 2030 of a prosperous and empowered upper middle-income society requires raising production and productivity across all sectors of the economy. This can only be achieved if our people are united and peaceful,” said the Zanu PF leader.
“Political players, seeking the people’s mandate during the upcoming 2023 Harmonised Elections, must maintain and consolidate the peace, unity, harmony and love that we have built under the Second Republic. Violent confrontations have never been part of our culture.”
However, opposition CCC MPs took turns to denounce the SONA as they reacted to Mnangagwa’s political sentiments on violence in the country.
Harare East MP, Tendai Biti had this to say: “We do not have a nation so we cannot have a State of the Nation Address when you do not have a nation.
“There is a culture of intolerance, there is no common vision, there is toxicity, there is extraction. SONA needed to address the issues of social contract the social fabric of the country,” said Biti criticising alarming levels of corruption in Zimbabwe.
“The imperator of corruption needed to be addressed by SONA. We need a vision of unity, a vision of integrity, a vision of rebuilding the social fabric of our country.”
CCC Mbizo legislator, Settlement Chikwinya added, “Zanu PF is not sincere about shunning violence. We have witnessed this in the past where violence was pepertrated by the ruling party in Insiza, Matobo, Matebeleland and Kabuyuni in Gokwe. Zanu PF is the Bishop of violence.
“They tell the nation something during the day but in the dark, its supporters do something else different. We are not going to listen to President Mnangagwa’s speech because he cannot defend his violence statement,” Chikwinya told journalists after the SONA.
He added that “all violence perpetrators are sadly freely enjoying their lives as they have not been arrested yet Job Sikhala, CCC MP is languishing in jail for a crime he did not commit.”
Sikhala has spent more than 160 days in jail after being denied bail several times.
Meanwhile, Mnangagwa also officially opened the Fifth Session of the Ninth Parliament of Zimbabwe and urged Parliament to fast track the aligning of laws to the 2013 Constitution and the amendment of the legislation.
“Parliament is expected to accelerate the completion of the matters on the legislative agenda in line with the expectations of the electorate,” said President Mnangagwa.