Catholic bishops add voice to calls for peaceful polls The creation of a peaceful and just society, in which every individual is able to meet their basic human needs, and where peoples of diverse backgrounds cooperate and live in harmony, will require a significant reorientation of individual and collective goals and a profound transformation in attitudes and behaviours.

The Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops’ Conference (ZCBC) has added its voice to calls for peaceful elections and urged politicians to refrain from using inflammatory language that can fuel tensions.

The country holds combined Presidential, Parliamentary and local government elections on August 23 this year to choose new representatives for the next five years.

In a statement, the ZCBC said the language that politicians use has the power to either build or destroy and as such their utterances should be made with great responsibility.

“Work to build and promote peace. Avoid the use of inflammatory, politically charged and derogatory language,” it said.

“These can easily fan hatred and incite violence. As you campaign, your campaign managers and followers take heed of your example, and be agents of peace. Let the values of love, justice, peace, unity, tolerance and harmony characterise this year’s campaigns.”

The ZCBC also urged the media to be impartial in their reporting.

“Most people who do not attend campaign rallies are informed through your news coverage. Be non-partisan, cover all parties in the same manner.

“Report without fear or favour, avoid misrepresentations and biased reporting, let your role be that of midwifery, enable all politicians to be heard.”

The Catholic Church leaders said the elections were not a platform to create divisions amongst Zimbabweans but an avenue that promotes the growth of democracy in the country, as it enables individuals to freely choose leaders.

They urged registered voters to turn up in numbers and exercise their right to vote.

 The appeal from the ZCBC comes at a time when President Mnangagwa has on several platforms been calling for a peaceful atmosphere before, during and after the elections. — New Ziana

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