IN his address to the nation on January 31, President Emmerson Mnangagwa made a passionate plea for peace in the country ahead of 113 parliamentary and council by-elections in March this year.
“As you may be aware, by-elections will be conducted in 2022. These will serve as a reminder to all that elections are the only route that people can take to elect representatives of their choice.
“You should, therefore, vote peacefully and I urge candidates to conduct themselves in an honourable manner that deepens the maturity of our democracy,” Mnangagwa said.
The appeal came amid growing political tension in the country. There have been reports of inter and intra-party violence and it is disturbing.
Last Sunday, Mnangagwa had made an appeal to the Church to promote unity to ensure peace and stability as the country geared for the by-elections.
“I want to highlight that in 2022, the country will be holding various electoral processes. I appeal to the Church and citizens in general to play an active role in ensuring that peace and stability prevail in our country,” Mnangagwa said.
We have said it before and we will continue to say it. The attitude of politicians has a bigger role in achieving and maintaining stability and tranquillity in the nation.
Political party leaders must be on the forefront of preaching peace in the country ahead of the elections. Combined parties peace rallies should be held across the length and breadth of the nation.
Elections in this country have since 2000 been characterised by violence and hate speech. Their outcomes have been disputed mainly by the opposition as rigged and opaque. As we inch closer to the parliamentary and council by-elections, the ruling Zanu PF and the opposition must campaign peacefully and in a transparent manner.
There should be sustained campaigns on TV, radio and via roadshows for peace and zero tolerance to political violence and hate speech.
Candidates must be voted into office based on the strengths of their manifestos. Politicians with great ideas to move the country forward must be voted into power, Those who want to use brute force must be shunned and banished into political dustbins.
Violence retards development and is antithetical to democracy. It must never be allowed to dominate our politics.