Deadly politics

2009-02-18 00:00

It was reported yesterday that a senior Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) organiser, Sabelo Zondi, was gunned down in Empangeni on Sunday. He had allegedly been threatened earlier by ANC supporters angry at his success in recruiting ANC members into the IFP. In turn, the ANC stated that two of its members from the Pongola area had been deliberately run over by a car driven by an IFP member.

Meanwhile, both parties are loud in accusations of harassment of members attempting to canvass. All of this seems to make a mockery of the statement issued jointly by the ANC and IFP leadership calling for political tolerance during the run-up to the elections: the general membership is apparently unable even to pay lip service to the agreement. And where physical harassment is not an option, some seem willing to engage in a kind of psychological warfare, as when the ANC, apparently without evidence, accused the Democratic Alliance of removing ANC posters on the Durban Bluff.

It’s to be hoped that the leaders of both parties will, in keeping with the agreement they’ve signed, condemn these things in the strongest terms, undertaking to co-operate with police in identifying suspects and bringing them swiftly to justice. It’s to be hoped, too, that parties will totally reject party-political harassment, that they will protect and promote the democratic right of all parties to canvass when and where they wish, and that they will deal severely (by expulsion, suspension of party membership, or by handing culprits over to the police) with any who seek, violently or otherwise, to hinder the electoral process in this way.

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