Zim drops on world peace rankings; Second Republic blamed for toxic political environment

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By Staff Reporter

ZIMBABWE has continued to slide on the Global Peace Index (GPI) rankings and is currently perched on number 127 in the world and number 31 out of 44 nations in sub-Saharan Africa.

The latest rankings come as the world today commemorates International Day of Peace under the theme “End Racism, Build Peace.”

Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) national spokesperson, Obert Masarure, in a statement to mark the day, said President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s so-called Second Republic has presided over an escalating political situation characterised by political intolerance and violence.

Said Masaraure: “lndeed, peace is worth celebrating where it exists, as it is the cornerstone of sustainable and inclusive development. Peace is what has held communities, nations and the globe together and provided the foundation for some of humanity’s greatest achievements and advances to date.

“It is unfortunate that this year’s edition of the International Day of Peace comes at a time when Zimbabwe has continued to slide down the Global Peace Index, being placed number 127 in the world and number 31 out of 44 nations in sub-Saharan Africa.

“In 2017, when President Mnangagwa took over power, Zimbabwe was on number 118, and since then, the country’s peace ratings have continued to retreat.

“This trend has been largely attributed to the government’s failure to effectively tackle the scourge of political violence, which is itself the
result of a country that is always seemingly in ‘election mode’.

“Political polarisation seems to have split the country into two irreconcilable political camps, fanned by political leaders and cascading
into the communities and virtually all facets of life. This political polarisation remains the greatest threat to peace in Zimbabwe.”

Masaraure said local citizens continue to be subjected to an even worse form of violence – economic violence – which the government of Zimbabwe and including the ruling party infrastructure, continues to perpetrate on citizens, both within and outside the ruling party.

“Beyond selective application of the law, the government and ruling party have also made it an ‘unofficial’ policy to selectively accord (or deny) citizens economic opportunity and a chance to attain a livelihood, based on political party affiliation.

“Beyond such tendencies bordering on democide, such denial of equal access to economic opportunity is the greatest driver of outward migration of Zimbabwean citizens to other countries.

“Economic violence against citizens has also found expression in the high-level corruption and looting of national resources, which now all seem to have the blessing of the ruling party.”

The government, CiZC noted, cannot guarantee its citizens basic social services and goods, decent livelihoods and a properly functioning economy.

The spike in violent crimes was an indicator the centre could nolonger hold, Masarure highlighted.

“The increase in violent crime across the country negates any parotted progress under the Second Republic, and is a clear sign that the
government’s dalliance with ‘speculative’ capital is not only exploitative, but is itself a danger to any long-term and sustainable recovery of the Zimbabwe economy.

“The current government’s key international capital alliances are unlikely to result in sustainable economic growth, but just the plunder of national resources and enrichment of a few politically connected elites.”

CiZC implored the government and the ruling party Zanu PF, to rise above toxic, violent and destructive politics based on hate and discrimination, and for once, begin to show genuine political will towards the respect for the Constitution’s principles on peace, good governance and democracy.

“It is indeed worrying when the government of the day and the ruling party continue to be champions of undermining peace and democracy; actively pursuing the politics of persistent inequality, selective law application, political conflict, and ethnic and tribal discrimination.

“It is these tendencies which have collectively worked to destabilise our Zimbabwean society and in the process, undermines the very legitimacy of government.

“Cases of political violence, with the ruling Zanu PF party as the major perpetrator, continue to soar ahead of what is likely to be a violent 2023 general election,” said Masaraure.

State security agents, Zanu PF supporters and militia have continued to collude in unleashing violence on opposition supporters, journalists and civil rights activists and human rights defenders, especially those that have sought to speak out against government’s excesses and hold it to account, he added.

“Communities in rural areas have continued to report incidents of intimidation, harassment, hate speech and assault, while the government has continued to systematically ban or curtail opposition and civil society activities.

“As we write, 16 opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) party activists, including two legislators, have been detained for over three months and lawyers representing the 16 have said the detainees are being treated in remand prison as hardcore criminals and they are being denied visitors and food.

“Yet, these citizens have a right to bail. That the perpetrator of the heinuous murder of Moreblessing Ali, at whose funeral wake these activists were arrested, is out on bail, represents a great travesty of justice, which is not conducive for building peace.

“Beyond the selective application of the law, the enactment of draconian and colonial era laws also fans hatred and undermines peace.

“The mooted PVO Amendment Bill isa sign of an unrepentant political elite that is refusing to be bound by norms of good governance. Most of the laws that the government is increasingly relying on are ultra vires the Constitution, which again is another source of conflict that undermines peace.”