Mukoko Lauds Mnangagwa For Fostering Peace

....Questions The Role Of Chiefs

The Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) has commended President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Zanu PF for preaching peace ahead of the July 30 elections while urging other political parties to follow suit.

Speaking at a Centre for Investigative Journalism Zimbabwe (CIJZ) workshop, ZPP National Director, Jestina Mukoko said it was refreshing to note that Mnangagwa had taken steps in calling for peaceful elections.

“The changed attitude towards violence by the ruling party, cannot be ignored. The President has really tried to hammer home the issue of peace and for us as the ZPP, comparing figures from the previous elections, we have had the benefit of a hindsight of in terms of the information we have got from past elections.

“But the figures from our monthly reports, show that in the last two months there has been a decrease in intra-party violence and it does not show that we are going into an election which is a positive,” said Mukoko.

She however noted that there has been a general fear among citizens, stemming from past incidents of violence especially during elections.

Mukoko questioned the role of traditional chiefs in the build-up to the elections.

“There are some communities where people are being told, by traditional Chiefs, the order in which they will be queuing on the voting day. That alone is bad as it shows intimidation is still rife,” she said.

She urged political parties to refrain from hate speech and preach peace as well as abide by the Peace Pledge signed by the all political parties last week.

“What is disheartening is that most politicians have not heeded the call to peace as we are yet to hear them tell their supporters that they are bound by the Peace Pledge in their campaigns.

“I was in Nyanga recently, people are afraid of the traditional chiefs maybe it is a cultural thing. In Nyanga, many people revealed that they are afraid of the role that traditional leaders should play. Chief Fortune Charumbira perpetrates the intimidation of villagers with contempt despite a court order ordering him to retract his statement. The media should contribute to the building blocks of peace,” she noted.

Barely 24 hours after the signing of the Peace Pledge, there were reports of pulling down of opposition campaign posters by alleged Zanu PF supporters, a move which contravenes Section 152 of the  Electoral Code of Conduct.

Meanwhile, a recent report by ZPP ranked the MDC Alliance as the most violent party for the month of June after it recorded 16 cases of intra-party violence against Zanu-PF’s three incidents.

It also revealed that the MDC Alliance tops the number of political violence perpetrators (162) compared to Zanu-PF’s 119.

However, there have been more victims of political violence for the MDC Alliance (294) compared to Zanu-PF (85) while 1098 came from other political parties.

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