Elita Chikwati Senior Reporter
Government has commended political parties for peaceful conduct as the country moves towards harmonised elections on July 30.
Speaking at the Zanu-PF headquarters in Harare yesterday after a meeting with the National Association of Non-Governmental Organisations (NANGO), Home Affairs and Culture Minister and Zanu-PF secretary for Administration Dr Obert Mpofu said he was impressed by the peaceful manner in which different political parties were conducting themselves.
“So far so good,” he said. “Parties are demonstrating peacefully which is commendable. Political parties have been talking about peace, orderliness and that is what we are preaching to our members in Zanu-PF to conduct themselves in a diligent and non-violent manner when they pursue their political programme.
“We are really impressed by the manner parties are conducting themselves towards the elections and we plead with the political leadership and those mobilising membership to continue the spirit of peacefulness.”
Dr Mpofu said he had a fruitful meeting with NANGO as has been the case with other stakeholders who are following events leading to the harmonised elections.
“Today we had NANGO who wanted to engage us on how we view the preparations for the coming elections and also how we will ensure that parties do not conflict through hate speech and other behaviours which are not conducive for a free and fair electoral process,” he said.
“We re-assured them that President Mnangagwa has called for peaceful elections. On behalf of the party and Government we will abide by that.”
Dr Mpofu said Zanu-PF had despatched teams in provinces and districts through its party structures to ensure that people conducted their electoral activities in a peaceful, constructive and friendly atmosphere that did not threaten other people.
“We mean it and we will ensure that it becomes the norm,” he said.
“As Government, we will ensure police deal with politicians who want to cause discomfort and disharmony on others.
“Even as Zanu-PF, we ensure that the police do not tolerate any misbehaviour by Zanu-PF as well. So, it is a standing position by Government and party that we conduct ourselves in a peaceful manner in our campaigns.”
Dr Mpofu urged the people to desist from using hate speech, abusive language and violence on political opponents.
NANGO national chairperson, Mrs Wadzanayi Vere said topical issues were on human rights.
“Topical issues were human rights, political tolerance and women and youth participation in the forthcoming elections at party level,” she said.
“NGOs are imploring parties to allow women, youths and people living with disabilities to participate in the harmonised elections.
“We need to have a peaceful, free and fair election. It is key for us to ensure we follow the tenets of democracy. We are not only engaging Zanu-PF, but we are also engaging other political formations across the country and we also intend to engage independent commission. It is an on-going dialogue that will continue even after elections.”