Chiefs hail peace­ful en­vi­ron­ment

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page - Nqo­bile Tshili

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

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