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Peaceful Polls Evidence of Political Maturity

In three days time, the Crisscrossing around the country will come to an end. It will be the voters’ turn to cast their ballots for candidates of their choice in Monday’s harmonised elections.

It is harvest time for the 23 presidential candidates, prospective Members of Parliament and those seeking to represent their wards in local government elections. However, one only harvests where they have sown good seed.

The pre-election environment has been marked by unprecedented peace, the peace that descended on Zimbabwe since the dawn of Operation Restore Legacy.

The prevailing peace gives confidence that delivering free, fair, credible and violence free elections will not be a tall order, especially when there is team spirit among leading contenders.

More than 20 political parties signed a National Peace Pledge, committing themselves to upholding the basic tenets required for realising a credible election.

There is no candidate who can claim that they failed to campaign in any part of the country due to threats of violence, because from the onset, the new administration preached peace, unity and love, for without these, the quest for development will not be attained.

If some candidates failed to campaign in some parts of the country, the only reasons could be lack of resources and in a majority of cases, lack of supporters.

The peaceful atmosphere so far experienced is a plus not just for the Government that has an obligation to ensure that elections are held under a peaceful environment, but also for the political parties.

We also commend the Zimbabwe Republic Police and major stakeholders in the NGO sector for taking the peace message seriously.

Another group that needs commendation are the young voters, especially those who will be voting for the first time.

They are excited by the prospect of making a difference, but the majority of them have not allowed that excitement to cloud their judgment, since in the past, youths have been bought off by alcohol and drugs in order to perpetrate violence.

We hope that they remain focused even as they cast their vote and after the results are announced. They should refuse to be canon fodder.

Although there were instances where some political entities instigated violence, it had no takers as President Mnangagwa and his deputy, Dr Constantino Chiwenga, persistently and consistently preached peace at rallies and/or Government-related programmes.

The peace dividend we have enjoyed since November 2017 must prevail even in the post-electoral period, for there is no alternative to peace and unity. Some candidates are exuding confidence, to the extent of making claims and counter-claims that the Presidency is theirs.

We hope that they are not putting the cart before the horse, because that in itself is a recipe for disaster. Come next week, we also hope that they will not reject the results after being defeated.

Just two days ago, MDC-Alliance leader Mr Nelson Chamisa brimming with excitement, said he would not boycott the election because he already knew that he was the winner.

A few days before that, he told supporters at a rally that if incumbent President Mnangagwa gets 10 percent of the total vote, he will congratulate him. The question is, if he does not win, will he accept the result?

All candidates must view themselves as suitors vying to capture the heart of a girl and they should be aware that in any contest, one person emerges the winner because the people would have bought into their programme.

Self-ordination sends wrong signals, considering that there are 23 candidates seeking votes from the 5,6 million registered voters.

But, it is our hope that between now and July 30, it remains business as usual, as people maintain peace, not for the sake of the many observer missions in the country, but for Zimbabwe and its development agenda. The 2018 election should demonstrate to the world that Zimbabwe has matured democratically.

While we agree that politics is like a game without rules, where nothing is certain and anything is possible, we must also reflect on what the great reggae artiste Bob Marley said: “Don’t gain the world and lose your soul; wisdom is better than silver or gold.”

A fortnight ago, President Mnangagwa reminded the nation about the importance of peaceful co-existence and unity at the Johane Marange Pesach: “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity . . .” (Psalms 133), he quoted the scriptures.

Source :

The Herald

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