Peaceful elections is the way to go

by Sibusiso Ndlamini

Elections come and go, and with only four weeks left before the harmonised elections are held it is imperative for all political players to practise and promote peace in their campaigns so as to ensure a free, fair, credible and transparent election.

On 26 June 2018, the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) organised a Peace Pledge signing ceremony, which saw 20 leaders of different political parties’ appendage their signature to the document. This will ensure that all political parties abide by the pledge and desist from any form of violence that may disturb the peaceful election environment, before, during and after the harmonised elections.

The NPRC called all political participants in the 2018 elections to do away with violence, force or intimidation of any form as well as avoiding hate speech in any gatherings and inducing fear in other political players. If political parties heed the call by the NPRC to have a calm election environment, the political field will be conducive for every political party to freely participate.

Important to note is that, political leaders play an essential role in facilitating peace and tranquillity. They are opinion makers to their followers and if they condemn violence their supporters will follow suit.

It is pleasing that President Emmerson Mnangagwa together with entire Zanu PF leadership have been propagating peace ahead of the next month’s elections. In all the ruling party rallies that have so far been held, President Mnangagwa has been preaching the gospel peace. Recently, President Mnangagwa posted an audio on his social media platforms including his Facebook page that said, “I wish to express to you my desire for us to have a peaceful election. You maybe Zanu PF member or a member of an opposition political party, the crucial thing that we require of all our political parties is peace.”

In ensuring a peaceful and successful election, the behaviour of politicians and party members is crucial. Candidates announcing themselves winners before the official announcement by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) can be the bedrock of violence.

Individuals and political parties seeking political power should know that elections are not a must win affair. The nation needs to stay intact even after the electoral process. The environment may be competitive and hot but it must remain peaceful, calm and safe. Prospective candidates should be reminded that whether they are winners or losers of the election, the nation should remain united as one people with one goal of peace and harmony. It should be stressed that without the electorate, the elected will have no one to govern.

All Zimbabweans should ensure a violent-free 2018 harmonised elections. Zimbabwe should continue to be the shining example and set admirable standards which will be emulated by other African countries. The peace that transpired during the transition of power last year is expected to continue during this election period.

Violence inhibits development, thus, Zimbabweans should maintain their prevailing peaceful environment for the good of the nation.