18 May 2018

Zimbabwe: Let's All Guarantee Peaceful Elections

editorial

The life of the eighth Parliament is soon coming to an end, with the nation expecting President Mnangagwa to dissolve the august House thereafter, in accordance with Constitutional provisions on duration and dissolution of Parliament, Section 143(1, 2).

The said section reads: "Parliament is elected for a five-year term . . . The President must by proclamation dissolve Parliament if the Senate and National Assembly, sitting separately, by the votes of at least two-thirds of the total membership of each House, have passed resolutions to dissolve."

Again, in accordance with Constitutional provisions, the President will proclaim the date(s) for the 2018 harmonised elections.

As a Constitutional democracy, these are processes that political parties and their supporters expect to be followed in letter and spirit.

This goes to show that an election is a process and not a one-off event. The foundations for holding free, fair, credible and violence-free elections are already being put in place by the various stakeholders, Government included.

President Mnangagwa has pledged that his administration would deliver free and fair polls and has taken every opportunity to call for peace and unity among people, irrespective of political affiliation, gender, age and religious affiliation.

The President's call is not just for members of the ruling Zanu-PF party, but for everyone.

His latest clarion call for a peaceful elections was made in Shurugwi while delivering his eulogy on Wednesday for the late Sekuru Phineas Tagwirei, father to Sakunda Holdings director Mr Kudakwashe Tagwirei.

We have also noted that since President Mnangagwa promised that the 2018 harmonised elections will be free, fair, credible and peaceful during his inauguration in November 2017, the international community has been upbeat about it, while some have greeted the promise with cautious optimism, considering the contentious issues that arose in past elections.

Why should the gospel of a peaceful election be embraced by all and sundry?

Secretary for Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Mr George Charamba summed it up recently when he said that the elections are about restoring international re-engagement and legitimacy.

We have already noted the goodwill from the international community following the re-engagement process since President Mnangagwa's administration came into office. We also acknowledge the fruits it is bearing, the latest being the private sector loan of US$100 million being proffered by United Kingdom and Standard Chartered Bank.

This is a show of buoyancy, considering that the last time Zimbabwe received a loan from the UK's development finance institution the CDC, was in 1994. The confidence is being shown in all sectors that matter in the turnaround of the economy. The more reason for ensuring that we deliver on the President's promise, for the people stand to gain more than anybody else.

A conducive environment before, during and after elections should also be maintained, because you don't have to be a rocket scientist to realise that Zimbabwe needs rebuilding and reconstruction to move with the 21st Century best practices.

One of the issues that the President is also speaking very strongly about is hate speech. At Sekuru Tagwirei's funeral he said, "I have heard some at their gatherings preaching hate speech. I say, let the demons of legion vacate them."

This raises lots of hope and expectation, and it is actually a breath of fresh air, coming as it were from the country's top political leadership, at such a time as this.

He has also shown that it pays to be patient and tolerant. President Mnangagwa is attacked on social media, but on Wednesday, he told an interviewer on Star FM that it is their right to express themselves freely. If he doesn't believe that the best way to deal with one's enemy is to lock them up, it means that all of us are capable of reciprocating that, for the sake of Zimbabwe.

The road to Election Day might look uncertain for some, but as national hero Vice President John Landa Nkomo used to say: "Peace begins with me; peace begins with you and, peace begins with all of us."

Development is achievable if people put the nation's interests and not their personal interests first.

Zimbabwe

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