23 April 2018

Zimbabwe: National Interest First - Sb Moyo

POLITICAL contestation should never trump the national interest, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Lieutenant-General Dr Sibusiso Moyo (Rtd) said as he rallied Zimbabweans to embrace civil politics of non-violence and competition at the level of ideas.

Addressing scores of Zimbabweans who packed Zimbabwe House for a Diaspora Interactive luncheon here over the weekend, Dr Moyo called on Zimbabweans to support the coming harmonised elections.

"We want to introduce in Zimbabwe what we call civil politics. Why should political contestation overshadow national interests?" he asked to ap- plause.

"We are Zimbabweans, the whole world recognises us as having gone to school but why should we behave differently from where we were educated? So this is the desire of the new dispensation, we want to introduce a new kind of politics in Zimbabwe," he added.

As he apprised the attendees on preparations for the harmonised elections, Dr Moyo underscored Government's commitment to free, fair and credible elections that will stand up to regional, continental and global scrutiny saying the primary arbiters should be Zim- babweans.

"It is the desire and in fact the determination of the current dispensation that we should have free, fair, transparent and credible elections. And I am saying free, fair, transparent and credible elections, first and foremost these elections must satisfy the people of Zimbabwe ...

"Yes, we are going to be benchmarking that with the regional guidelines and the continental guidelines so that at least there is a basis upon which all those who are invited to come and observe the elections can come and observe but using the Constitution of Zimbabwe and using the satisfaction of the Zimbabweans and, of course, benchmarking that with the guidelines of Sadc and the African Union," he added.

President Mnangagwa, he said, was committed to holding an indaba with all contesting political parties with a view to getting them to commit to a code of conduct that abhors violence in the run- up to, during and after the harmonised elections which should deliver a credible result that binds all.

"We believe when there is commitment to non-violence and there is civil politics, people are going to exercise their right to vote, people are free to campaign. So far there are few political parties campaigning, is there no freedom? Everybody is allowed to campaign. Everybody is freely going to cast his vote ...

'"Fundamentally, those are the issues, then what will emerge is the people's choice and that people's choice will be accepted by everyone and must be accepted by everyone," Dr Moyo said.

The Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission has said it has not received a single case of political violence, as Government is making concerted efforts to ensure a violence-free election.

Speaking at a meeting with stakeholders in Mashonaland Central earlier this month, ZHRC deputy executive secretary (programmes) Mr Eric Mukutiri said President Mnangagwa's message on peace seemed to have been well received since tolerance of different political views had improved as he expressed the ZHRC's confidence that the coming election would be free, fair and credible.

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