VP Mo­hadi calls for peace­ful polls

The Herald (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Tendai Mu­gabe Se­nior Reporter

THE new dis­pen­sa­tion led by Pres­i­dent Mnan­gagwa has opened up po­lit­i­cal space in the coun­try al­low­ing cit­i­zens and po­lit­i­cal par­ties to campaign freely and ex­press their opin­ions with­out fear, Vice Pres­i­dent Kembo Mo­hadi has said.

His re­marks come in the wake of un­hin­dered and in­tense cam­paign­ing by all po­lit­i­cal par­ties across the coun­try ahead of the forth­com­ing gen­eral elec­tions.

VP Mo­hadi said as the na­tion drifts to­wards har­monised elec­tions in July, po­lit­i­cal play­ers should preach the gospel of peace and unity.

Ad­dress­ing a sym­po­sium on peace and the 2018 har­monised elec­tions or­gan­ised by the Univer­sity of Zim­babwe and the Elec­tion Re­source Cen­tre in Harare yes­ter­day, VP Mo­hadi said politi­cians should use per­sua­sive means to so­licit for votes.

“The new dis­pen­sa­tion has ush­ered in po­lit­i­cal free­dom of ex­pres­sion, as­so­ci­a­tion and assem­bly so that can­di­dates and par­ties can campaign with­out hin­drance and have the op­por­tu­nity to con­vey their mes­sages to the vot­ers,” he said.

“Re­gret­tably, it is at the cam­paigns that in­cit­ing mes­sages and hate speech can be re­layed and trig­ger vi­o­lent acts, which desta­bilise our com­mu­ni­ties. Such should be avoided. Col­lec­tively, let all use our pre­ven­ta­tive diplo­macy, per­sua­sion and alert po­ten­tial con­flict brew­ers about the con­se­quences of in­cite­ment.

“In this new dis­pen­sa­tion, there is vir­tu­ally no rea­son why com­mu­ni­ties should not cre­ate plat­forms for peace and cul­ti­vate tol­er­ance. Our com­mu­ni­ties should be on the fore­front in con­fronting ques­tions of vi­o­lence, peace build­ing and rec­on­cil­i­a­tion in Zim­babwe.”

VP Mo­hadi said Zim­bab­weans should co-ex­ist and it was im­por­tant to come up with peace build­ing pro­grammes that unite peo­ple across bound­aries, cul­tures, gen­der and po­lit­i­cal af­fil­i­a­tion.

“It is in­cum­bent upon all of us as a na­tion to con­tinue to en­vi­sion on peace build­ing and rec­on­cil­i­a­tion jour­ney so that we demon­strate to the world that we are a peace­ful and lov­ing peo­ple - a peo­ple poised to con­duct elec­tions peace­fully be­cause we un­der­stand the value of di­a­logue over phys­i­cal en­gage­ment as in­di­cated by our very high lit­er­acy rate.

“The me­dia should serve as a link for the vot­ers to know what tran­spires be­fore, dur­ing and af­ter elec­tions. There­fore, the me­dia should avoid in­flam­ma­tory lan­guage that stirs con­flicts at all costs.

“Our lo­cal me­dia should at all costs not be over­shad­owed by foreign me­dia. As the na­tion em­braces cul­tural and po­lit­i­cal di­ver­sity, we need to con­tin­u­ously re­mind our­selves that elec­tions come and go but we should re­main united and put the as­pi­ra­tions of the coun­try first.”

VP Mo­hadi said po­lit­i­cal par­ties should con­tinue to nur­ture an en­vi­ron­ment of tol­er­ance and demon­strate to the world that Zim­babwe’s democ­racy had come of age.

“This coun­try does not re­quire vi­o­lence, in­tim­i­da­tion and other ob­sta­cles for peo­ple to de­mand the right to ex­press their will through the bal­lot box,” he said.

“Our elec­toral laws of­fer equal con­di­tions and op­por­tu­ni­ties for cit­i­zens to have ac­cess to polling sta­tions and to vote and so ev­ery cit­i­zen of this coun­try should help us up­hold these laws.

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