President casts votes, preaches peace

Tendai Mugabe in KWEKWE
President Mnangagwa cast his vote in Chirumhanzu-Zibagwe Constituency yesterday, where he said the conduct of elections should be the epitome of the peace prevailing in the country and a harmonious environment should always guide Zimbabwe into the future.

Responding to questions from journalists after casting his votes at Sherwood Primary School just outside Kwekwe, President Mnangagwa said he was happy with the peaceful manner in which the electoral process was unfolding.

Asked his views on remarks made by former President Mr Robert Mugabe that there was no democracy in the country since Operation Restore Legacy in November last year, President Mnangagwa said in any democratic space, everyone was free to express their views.

“I am happy that both the campaigning process was peaceful, (and) voting today (yesterday) is peaceful,” said President Mnangagwa.

“I have no doubt that the end process of the entire electoral process will remain peaceful. I can assure you that this country is enjoying democratic space which has never been experienced before.

“In any democratic space and country, people have the freedom to express their views — negative or positive — so the former President has his right to express his mind because there is democratic space existing in the country.”

President Mnangagwa said he had no problem with engaging Mr Mugabe any time if there was any issue to discuss because the former President was also a citizen of Zimbabwe.
“He (Mr Mugabe) is a citizen of this country,” he said.

“I engage him any time not because there is an election or no election. He is a citizen, I can engage him any time, he can engage me any time if there is an issue for me to discuss or him to discuss.”

President Mnangagwa arrived at Sherwood Primary School polling station just after 10am accompanied by First Lady Auxilia Mnangagwa and their children, who also cast their votes at the same place.

The President was ushered into the polling station by polling officers where he went through the process of checking his identity particulars against the information on the voters roll.

After the polling officers were satisfied, they issued the President with three ballot papers.
President Mnangagwa then went on to put his voting mark on the three ballots for the president, Member of the National Assembly and councillor.

The President had time to chat with the polling officers, inquiring on how many people were allocated to vote at the polling station.

President Mnangagwa then addressed hordes of local and international journalists before leaving the polling station.
For the first time in the history of elections in Zimbabwe, the country had 23 presidential candidates in yesterday’s polls.

In another first since the turn of the Millennium, the new dispensation led by President Mnangagwa invited more than 46 countries and organisations to observe yesterday’s elections.

During the run up to the polls, all political parties and candidates had been campaigning freely across the country without any hindrance.

Almost all the observers in Zimbabwe have hailed the peaceful environment in the country, saying it was conducive for free, fair and credible elections.

Among the observers are those drawn from the Sadc, the European Union, the African Union, Commonwealth and COMESA.
President Mnangagwa is on record saying Zimbabwe had come of age politically and had nothing to hide to the outside world.

As such, President Mnangagwa said, the world was free to come and witness democracy being practised at its highest level during Zimbabwe’s harmonised polls.

Source :

The Herald

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