AS 2023 general elections beckon, Zimbabweans from across the political divide are hoping for peaceful, free and fair polls that usher a leadership reflective of the people’s will.
In cross-cutting interviews conducted by NewZimbabwe.com, the clergy, civil society leaders and the general populace called for calm as a peaceful environment is an enabler for economic, social and political development.
The country is already in election mode and merely waiting for presidential proclamation of official dates.
Senator Chief Ngezi said now that the nation was heading towards elections, there was need for citizens to heed call for peace to prevail before, during and after the plebiscites.
“President Mnangagwa remains our beacon of peace now that we are in an election phase. As traditional leaders, we are saying let’s embrace each other, shun hate speech.
“Let the campaigns be peaceful in nature as we must know that an election comes and goes, so violence will not yield any positive results since after elections we will be brothers and sisters like what we were before,” he said.
Zanu PF Mashonaland West Provincial Secretary for Adminstration, Misheck Nyarubero echoed the same sentiments saying stability should be exhibited before during and after the harmonised elections.
“Let’s adopt a bold stance against violence and in the process shame detractors and critics who are bent on tarnishing the image of the country whenever the country goes to elections.
“We must be very careful as our detractors remain persistent in their persuit of illegal regime change agenda.
“They continue to inflict harm our country through illegal sanctions,” said Nyarubero.
Looklife Zvaraveshe, Zanu PF Provincial Youth Executive Member, called on young people to tolerate each other.
“As youth we must be at the forefront championing peace, tolerate each other despite political difference a call by his Excellency President Mnangagwa,” he said.
Pan African Chamber of Commerce board member, Langton Mabhanga insisted on the need to uphold a peaceful environment the country was enjoying inorder to safeguard the different facets of development the country has witnessed.
“Now that we are in the year of a national plebscite to determine leaders who will steward us from local authority, parliamentary, Senatorial and to Presidential level, there is an umuntu song of Zimbabwe that I am because we are and that my humanity is underpinned by another humanity.
“Our interdependence and inter-connectedness as a people should foster an inherent (unity) between and amongst us,” he said.
Mabanga added that a lot has been unitedly achieved during tenure of the incumbent government and that spirit needs to be maintained.
Mabhanga pointed out that the gains of independence were not meant to divide people.
“We can uphold 2023 harmonised elections with the collective responsibility, respect and great honour for our institutions,” added Mabanga.
Evengelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe (EFZ) Chinhoyi District Chapter Chairman, Jacob Mafukidze said the church was there to usher in a culture of peace and make sure the nation holds elections peacefully.
“Elections are a constitutional process that allows a democratic expression of the people of the land to make choose their desired choices into office. This provision is to be safeguarded by a conducive environment setup before, during and after elections.”
Chinhoyi Residents Trust Coordinator, Peter Liwanda said there was need for government to capacitate institutions that support democracy.
“As we are now in 2023 we are calling for peaceful free and fair elections. We call on government to capacitate institutions that support democracy like Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) and Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC).
“Government must make sure these institutions, ZEC, NPRC and ZHRC have systems in place to prevent political violence and to give remedies where political violations occur,” said Liwanda.