Precedent with far reaching effects


THE historic decision by the High Court to award damages to individual members in a recent class action case will help douse the appetite of those keen on organising violence.
NERA, that regime change-inspired grouping of opposition political parties, must have thought it had scored a massive victory, with the trail of destruction that followed their call for a demonstration on August 26 2016.
They may fool a few into believing theirs was a genuine push for electoral reforms, but many know it is part of their sponsored regime change agenda.
Anyway their joy must have been short-lived.
And that must have been before the long arm of the law caught up with them two weeks ago.
The decision by Citizens Against Violence and Anarchy Trust (CAVAAT) to take the architects of violence head-on is going to have profound effects on the peace-loving Zimbabweans.
For a start, NERA and other like-minded civil society organisations, bent on promoting the regime change agenda, have been rudely awakened.
The US$300 000 awarded to CAVAAT will make them painfully realise there is a cost to violent action.
We suppose funders of these regime change organisations are now aware of some of the uses of their generous donations to what they perceive to be human rights ‘champions’.
What a body blow!
It’s high time these violence admirers realised that there is no right which is superior to others.
While the right to demonstrate might be guaranteed, the right to ownership of a business without interference must also be respected.
Why should one resort to looting, burning of flea markets and setting vehicles ablaze just because one has been granted the right to demonstrate?
Surely we are not living in Thomas Hobbes’ ‘state of nature’ where life is ‘…nasty, brutish and short’.
We therefore accept the recent class action court ruling as a modern-day substitute for Hobbes’ more ruthless Leviathan to bring about fear of mischief among would-be organisers.
There should be no need for vendors and other traders to live in nightmarish fear whenever a demonstration has been approved.
The recent ruling gives hope to the voiceless in a justice system which attaches equal weight to the rights of both Western-funded protest organisers as well as informal traders.
In essence, that is what the rule of law is all about.
There have been such violent and destructive demonstrations before August 26, with organisers going scot free.
No more.
The recent class action ruling sets a vital precedent.
Organisers can no longer just stand akimbo admiring destruction during a demo.
True, the mayhem might attract the international attention they desire, but at the same time, they must also be aware of the accompanying price tag.
Abhorrence of violence should be extended to all spheres in our country. There can never be any meaningful development in a country where violence is allowed to flourish.
The new dispensation leaves Zimbabwe open to business.
We cannot afford to drive away investors by frightening them through violence.
That is why we have expressed our unreserved repugnance at the recent intra-party violence within the MDC.
We shall only be too happy to be proved wrong if this MDC violence is not a rehearsal of more lethal violence as we move closer to elections.
Let’s accept it, we are long past Hobbes’ ‘state of nature’, where we were considered to be inherently evil.
Nevertheless, we are persuaded to advocate the introduction of more draconian laws against political violence in order to dissuade those with an innate propensity to indulge in it.


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