Chiefs hail peaceful environment
TRADITIONAL leaders yesterday said the prevailing political environment is conducive for holding a peaceful election as political parties were conducting their campaigns without intimidating the electorate.
In separate interviews, chiefs from Matabeleland region said villagers have heeded President Mnangagwa’s call for a violent-free election.
They said this election period is different from previous ones during former President Robert Mugabe’s era that were characterised by voter intimidation.
Chief Mtshane Khumalo from Bubi district in Matabeleland North, who is also the deputy president of the Chiefs’ Council, said he has not received any reports of skirmishes as political parties were campaigning peacefully.
“From where I come from there is peace. Political parties are going about their campaigns without any noise.
“It seems in most areas, the environment is very calm.
“There is a huge difference if we are to compare with the previous election,” he said.
“In previous polls we would hear of electoral violence in various areas whenever parties start campaigning. But at the moment, various political parties are holding their meetings and campaigns in a peaceful manner. Peace is holding.”
Chief Mtshane said despite the prevailing peaceful environment, political parties must encourage their supporters not to resort to violence ahead of the harmonised elections on July 30.
Chief Mathuphula from Tsholotsho said members of the public have heeded calls for a peaceful election in his area.
“The atmosphere is very free and fair, the tone set by President ED Mnangagwa has trickled down to the villages and the people at rural grassroots,” he said.
“Big political parties and independent candidates go about their campaigns and preparations without intimidating the people and each other.”
Chief Mathuphula said Zec officials and traditional leaders are also assisting the public with information through voter education.
Chief Mabhikwa from Lupane concurred saying there is calm in his area.
“The elections are very different and from my observation and what I have heard people are conducting themselves in a manner that promotes free and fair elections.
“As the traditional chiefs, we are also preaching to our communities that they desist from violence and conduct themselves in a peaceful manner,” he said.
Chief Mathema from Gwanda District in Matabeleland South said he is yet to make an assessment as he has not been on the ground.
He said on Sunday he will hold a meeting with all the political parties that will contest in his area of jurisdiction.
President Mnangagwa has called for a peaceful election and has since invited international observers to monitor the July poll. — @nqotshili