‘We’re ready for polls’

Blessings Chidakwa and Mutsawashe Mashandure

FOLLOWING President Mnangagwa’s proclamation of August 23 as the election date, Zimbabweans from across the political divide say they are ready to play their part so that the polls proceed in a peaceful environment.

President Mnangagwa and his ruling Zanu PF party have already set the tone for a peaceful election through advocating for non-violent conduct pre-and post the election period.

Legal experts, political analysts, and ordinary Zimbabweans are all in agreement that the dates announced by the Head of State and Government are in line with the country’s Constitutional provisions.

Renowned Harare lawyer, Advocate Lewis Uriri, said: “The proclamation of the election date dovetails with the delimitation process, in which people should know where they are supposed to vote.”

Advocate Takunda Gombiro said the announcement by the President was a welcome development since the nation was waiting for the day.

“The proclamation is in line with the country’s Constitution. The provisions of the Constitution expect a certain timeline for the General election to take place. If you look, President Mnangagwa was sworn into office in August 2018 so it is in line with the provisions,” he said.

For the avoidance of doubt, President Mnangagwa also announced October 2, 2023, as the date for a Presidential run-off in the event there is no outright winner, a move legal experts welcomed.

Advocate Fungai Chimwamurombe said this was a notable development that demonstrates democratic tenets by the President.

“The President is showing the whole world that Zimbabwe is a democratic nation because the elections are not yet done, but there is already a provision for a re-run if there is no outright winner,” he said.

Peaceful elections and readiness to vote is the message from the people.

Cde Godfrey Mutsako (77), a liberation war stalwart, said: “I became very involved in politics in 1972. During that time, we used the slogan, ‘One man one vote,’ and that is exactly what we want this time around.

“We just want peace since that is what people like myself and comrades like the late hero Herbert Chitepo sacrificed their lives for,” he said.

A political analyst Mr Tongai Dana said the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) is seemingly ready to preside over successful elections.

“Voter Education was done and continues to be implemented, voter registration is also successfully being done, and the delimitation process was also successfully done.”“Of course as the processes were ensuing, some issues were raised by concerned stakeholders and were addressed. So, on the part of ZEC, they are good to go and I expect nothing but effectiveness,” he said.

Mr Dana said as the elections draw nearer, there is a need for political parties to intensify their campaigns.

A Kambuzuma resident Mr Tapfumanei Mativenga said: “We have been eagerly waiting for this date but I am happy that people can now start to campaign. We want peaceful and fair elections.”

Mrs Rudo Ngora (50) said: “I checked my name on the voters roll but surprisingly it had been spelt wrongly despite voting for the past decades. However, the anomaly was corrected.”

Mr Tinashe Chari (31) of Damofalls Park said: “I am voting for a party that will bring more development after these coming elections.”

A woman from Greendale suburb, who only preferred to be identified as Lucia (28), said she had been anxiously waiting for the election date proclamation.

“I was curious to know this date but I am happy that it has finally been announced. As we head towards elections we just want people to observe peace and shun violence.”

Mr Blessing Moyo of Budiriro 4, who has been voting since 1980, said he was ready to take part in the upcoming elections.

“It is a process that is enshrined in our Constitution and everyone should exercise that right.

“Let me say as Zimbabweans we are one family, we want peace because elections will always come and go but we remain a family.”

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