THE country goes for elections tomorrow in what has been the most peaceful election period the country has ever witnessed.
The media, electorate in both urban and rural areas and the international community has been in agreement that the pre-election period has been peaceful with all political parties and independent candidates going about their business unhindered.
As the nation goes to the polls tomorrow, we pray for that spirit to continue and we wish to remind each and every Zimbabwean that there is more that brings us together as a nation than what divides us.
President Mnangagwa has led from the front, calling for peace and tolerance and that is the message that should be ringing in the heads of everyone as they go to cast their ballots, and even after the voting day. However, there have been some political players like leader of the MDC Alliance Mr Nelson Chamisa who has been seeking to brew anarchy ahead of the elections. We urge Zimbabweans to ignore him and all those who speak from the same hymn book with Mr Chamisa.
As President Mnangagwa has said, the law will be applied firmly on elements bent on inciting anarchy as authorities are committed to delivering a peaceful and credible poll. The President added that while his administration tolerates divergent views, it will not allow abuse of political freedoms that have flourished in the pre-election period.
His comments came in the wake of several threats by MDC Alliance leader Mr Chamisa to “shut down the country” and “cause chaos” if his party loses. Addressing thousands of Zanu-pf supporters at a rally at Mubaira Growth Point last week, President Mnangagwa warned that those who cause chaos would be dealt with in terms of the law.
“If anyone causes anarchy, the rule of law will prevail. We will not allow chaos in our country. We want peace. All those that are contesting are encouraged to contest in peace because we want law and order in our country. People should be allowed to do what they want, while respecting others and respecting peace.”
President Mnangagwa said although political parties have freedom to canvass for the people’s vote around the country, they should not abuse democratic space by stocking flames of lawlessness.
“We accept that people have divergent views. People should not be attacked or abused because they differ with you. No, we cannot all think the same . . . We say no violence, no violence. We want a peaceful election campaign. We do not want to go back to the era of the interface rallies. Haachadzoki zvakare, ana Delilah vakainda, vakainda,” he said in apparent reference to former First Lady Mrs Grace Mugabe who was notorious for her acerbic tongue and hate speech.
Voters in some of Zimbabwe’s rural outskirts have also confirmed that they are enjoying a period of unprecedented peace and calmness, as violent encounters that characterised some of the country’s past elections seem to have died with the old order.
Sunday News last week went to rural Umzingwane District in Matabeleland South to see whether the country’s rural areas, so often reported to be the scene of bloody encounters between political opponents in the past, have been truly violence free.
Violet Tshuma (89) said although memory now failed her because of her advanced age, she considered this year’s poll as peaceful she has ever participated in.
“I’m old now and I can’t tell you much. I don’t even remember the year in which I first voted but all I remember is that this was during the time of Joshua Nkomo. But I’m proud to be taking part in this election which is the most peaceful even though memory fails me now. I’m also proud to have raised children that are aware of the fact that voting is a right that they have to acknowledge and use,” Mrs Tshuma said.