A total of 20 political parties have appended their signatures to the peace pledge which commits them to observing peace and non-violence before, during and after the 2018 harmonised elections set for 30 July.
The pledge commits to:
- Say no to violence.
- Say no to hate speech and inducing of fear.
- Say yes to freedom to campaign and canvas for support.
- Say yes to freedom of expression and equal access to media.
- Say yes to freedom to choose candidates and vote in secret.
- Say yes to full and equal participation of women.
- Say yes to the promotion of a culture of peace and tolerance.
Those who took part in the signing the peace pledge at the Harare International Conference Centre were the NCA President Professor Lovemore Madhuku, Dr Willard Mugadza of the Bethel Christian Party, Dr Noah Manyika of the Build Zimbabwe Alliance, Mapfumo Peter Gava of the United Democratic Front, Mr Harry Peter Wilson of the Democratic Opposition Party, Brian Muteki an independent, Elton Mangoma of CODE, Engineer Tendai Peer Joshua Munyanduri of the New Patriotic Front and Dr Thokozani Khupe’s MDC-T which was represented by Dr Obert Gutu.
One of the female presidential candidates, Mrs Violet Marinyacha of the United Democracy Movement also signed the pledge, followed by Mr Desire Ncube, Joseph Makambabusha of the Free Zimbabwe Congress, Dr Nkosana Moyo of the Alliance People’s Agenda and Evaristo Washington Chikanga of the Rebuilding Zimbabwe party, and Dr Blessing Kasiyamhuru of the Partnership for Prosperity party.
The three parties that have representation in parliament, Professor Welshman Ncube’s MDC, Advocate Neson Chamisa’s MDC-T and President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s Zanu PF rose up to the challenge as they were among the 20 political parties that took the peace oath.
Notable absentees were Dr Joice Mujuru’s People’s Rainbow Coalition, the National People First and Dr Freedom Danha’s #1980 Freedom Movement, whose leader was arrested for disrupting the peace meeting.
National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) Chairperson, Retired Justice Selo Nare said elections are a key ingredient for long term peace and development in the country and the signing is a demonstration of the political parties’ commitment to enforcing the code of conduct.
Dr Danha, who seems to have found a new way of campaigning and popularising himself and his party, almost once again held proceedings to a standstill when he suddenly stood up to stop the ZEC Chairperson, Justice Priscilla Chigumba from making her presentation by insisting that ZEC procedures are flawed.
He had to be restrained and handcuffed to allow the gathering to conduct the business of the day.