REPRESENTATIVES of various political parties, churches and traditional leaders on Wednesday gathered in Mutare as part of the Peace Pledge programme, which was organised by the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC).
About 20 political leaders signed the Peace Pledge in Harare as part of the NPRC’s efforts to encourage peace during the election period.
Speaking during the event, NPRC commissioner Mrs Patience Chiradza encouraged political parties to embrace dialogue whenever faced with differences.
“The Peace Pledge compels political parties to observe peace during the election period,” she said. “As the commission our emphasis is on dialogue because we believe that when people sit down and talk, they will be able to identify where their differences are emanating from.”
Mrs Chiradza urged political parties to campaign peacefully and shun intimidation.
Chief Makoni, who spoke on behalf of the traditional leaders in Manicaland, said people should first identify the cause of political violence.
He said people in Zimbabwe have been politicising access to resources, which resulted in serious political differences.
“Politics involves allocation of resources and in Zimbabwe these resources were becoming fewer, which resulted in corruption,” said Chief Makoni. “We found that the allocation of the fewer resources brought a lot of differences among the people.
“It is the manner in which we share the few resources that usually brings about political violence.”
Chief Makoni said it would be upon people to find ways of avoiding violence during the sharing of resources.
He said as traditional leaders they were apolitical and treated politicians equally.
“If you see anyone who wants to cause violence, come to us and it is our mandate to help every one of you irrespective of which party you will be coming from,” said Chief Makoni.
“As chiefs we are apolitical and it is our mandate to make sure that we bring peace among people.”
Chief Makoni said people would always have differences but there was need to find peaceful ways of resolving the disputes.
Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission vice chairperson, Dr Ellen Sithole urged people to respect each other during the time they would be exercising their democratic rights.