UN, EU Call For Peace Ahead Of Elections

The United Nations (UN) and the European Union (EU) heads of missions have made a clarion call to political parties and participating candidates in the upcoming elections to remain peaceful while calling for increased civic awareness and political consciousness amongst the citizenry.

The calls were made at the Peace Pledge Signing Ceremony in Harare yesterday.

The event was formulated by Zimbabwe Institute (ZI), the brains behind the Electoral Code Of Conduct For Political Parties and Candidates as well as other stakeholders.

UN Resident Coordinator, Bishow Parajuli reiterated that peace brings development hence the need for everyone to pull in one direction and ensure a peaceful environment

“Today’s (yesterday) event marks an important commitment by political leaders to declare that violence has no place in the upcoming elections in Zimbabwe. Holding peaceful election will not only be the sign for the country’s democratic progress but also will also facilitate in unlocking domestic and foreign investment.

“Equally important is ensuring peace goes beyond the leaders of the political parties. Peace is everybody’s business, and that every citizen must play their part to cultivate, nurture and sustain peace.

“This notion of the interconnectedness of Peace and Development “no development without peace and no peace without development” remains at the heart of the work of the United Nations across the globe,” said Parajuli.

Head of the EU Delegation in Zimbabwe, Philippe Van Damme said it was disheartening to note that some voters are in fear of their lives as they have been subjected to intimidation ahead of the July 30 elections.

“70% of voters wrongly think they will have to produce their voter’s registration slip on voting day to be allowed to vote…40% think the vote will be rigged and will not be accepted or that there will be violence after the elections.

“It is a task of all stakeholders, starting with the political leaders to reassure the voters that the vote will be secret and reassure the voters that intimidation in any form will not be tolerated and that the results of the poll will be respected by all,” Van Damme said.

National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) chairperson, Retired Justice Selo Nare said it was incumbent upon all Zimbabweans to work together for the development of the country.

“Today (yesterday) marks an important step in our nation as all of us come together to collaborate in our efforts to contribute to sustainable peace and development.

“Peaceful elections are a key ingredient for long-term peace and development in the country and the NPRC has a key role to play in contributing towards this goal. Let us work to together for social cohesion and nation building. It is our responsibility as Zimbabweans to create a social compact for the future,” he said.

Under the Electoral Code Of Conduct, all political parties, members, supporters, candidates as well as all individuals, organisations and associations that are formally or informally associated with political parties or that formally or informally conduct political activities, in particular traditional leaders, security and law enforcement officials, public servants and civil society organisations, are expected to abide by this Code during the electoral process.

The purpose of this Code is to promote conditions that are conducive to free and fair elections and a climate of tolerance in which electioneering activity may take place without fear or coercion, intimidation or reprisals.

However, proceedings were temporarily disturbed by a member of  #1980FreedomMovement Zimbabwe, Dr Francis Danha who protested against Zimbabwe Electoral Commission chairwoman Justice Chigumba’s address at the event.

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