The Herald (Harare)

26 February 2013

Zimbabwe: PM Optimistic of Peaceful Elections

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has expressed optimism that Zimbabwe would conduct its elections peacefully.

Addressing delegates to the World Summit in South Korea on Saturday, PM Tsvangirai, however, spoke against Government policy on foreign election observers.

He called for observers from across the world to witness the elections.

However, Government has indicated that Zimbabwe would not invite countries deemed hostile to it.

"We believe our future political responses, in line with international best practice, shall grant us our space as a civilised player within the family of nations," he said.

"As we prepare for an election, the world must continue to nudge us to be open about this transformative process, to be accountable to humanity, to embrace tolerance, and to allow the will of the people to prevail.

"What confronts us requires global attention if Zimbabwe is to move away from dinner-table discussions where it has been dominant, clearly for wrong reasons, for the past few years," said the PM.

The European Union and the United States have imposed sanctions against Zimbabwe after Harare embarked on an agrarian revolution aimed at correcting historical imbalances.

The PM said the draft constitution to be presented for a referendum on March 16 recognise the important role women play in society.

"I must emphasise that for the first time in our history, we fully recognised the role of women in our society. The charter, which identifies Zimbabwe as a noteworthy player among other nations, accepts gender equality and inclusive human security as necessary constitutional safety nets in line with universal norms and standard," he said.

"May I point out that in this new constitution, we have acknowledged the supremacy of the Almighty God, recognising that we, as humans cannot do it in our own strength."

He said Africa's fortunes could be transformed for the better at the back of its rich mineral resource deposits.

"There is a realisation of the continent's potential for growth underpinned by a dormant resource base which, when fully exploited, can easily shift the economic power balance in Africa's favour," he said.

The PM called for investing resources in young people, whom he said were future leaders.

"They are different: their appetite for participation, dignity and opportunity, for choice, and for time and space is both insatiable and non-negotiable," he said.

He concluded his speech by reciting words from the late Vice President John Nkomo aimed at promoting peace.

The words are "Peace begins with me. Peace begins with you. Peace begins with all of us."

The conference ran under the theme "Peace, Security and Human Development."

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