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Zimbabwe needs a peaceful, credible, free and fair election

by Staff reporter
20 Jun 2023 at 06:49hrs | Views
ELECTIONS in our country have tended to be hotly-contested over the past 23 years.  

Ordinarily, they must be a contest of ideas, but in a number of cases, the contestation has degenerated to fists and boots; arson and stones.  Some people have sadly lost their lives as a result.  Valuable property such as homes, household furniture and vehicles has been destroyed.

However, to ensure that we have a clean election that our country deserves, police are getting ready, as the Minister of Home Affairs, Kazembe Kazembe says elsewhere in this edition today. He assured the public that the force is being resourced adequately so that its members discharge their mandate effectively, the mandate to maintain law and order. That is the message from police spokesperson, Assistant Commissioner, Paul Nyathi as well.

"We may differ politically and at the end of the day, we must vote peacefully," said Minister Kazembe.

"We should maintain peace, before, during, and after elections. Should one decide or dream of engaging in political violence, then they will be accounted for as there is no one who is above the law regardless of political affiliation….As Government, we want to thank the President because Treasury is seized with procurement of resources that they require. We shall be seeing vehicles very soon, and police will be receiving vehicles and all the equipment that they need to ensure that there is peace and tranquility as we conduct our elections."

"With regards to the forthcoming harmonised elections, the Commissioner General of Police Commissioner General Godwin Tandabantu Matanga has put in place an elections command committee which is spearheading the police deployment, and mobilisation of resources, and so far, almost 80 percent of the police officers have been trained in terms of election training," said Asst Comm Nyathi.

"We are working with ZEC in terms of the specific manpower to be deployed. So, definitely, the police are ready and we have set up special investigation teams which are required in terms of the law to handle issues of political violence and tracing suspects."

The public needs the guarantees, that law enforcement agents are ready to maintain law and order and that authorities are working this early to equip police so that they do their job.

As indicated, elections are generally emotive.  Politicians and their supporters advance their ideas to get the electorate backing them.  Disagreements and verbal attacks are common between opposing sides. Sometimes the disagreements and verbal attacks become physical fights.

When that happens, we all have nowhere else to turn except to the police.  However, if they are poorly resourced, if they aren't ready to help, turning to them will be like not turning to anyone.     

That is why Minister Kazembe and Asst Comm Nyathi's reassurances are essential.  

We urge police to go on an all-out drive to educate the people on the dangers of political violence. They must be visible, driving the education on mainstream and social media and physical messaging through street marches and hailers.   

As they educate the masses, police must be on the lookout for those who might not want to listen.  They must enforce the law without fear or favour as everyone is subject to the law. The bad apples must be arrested, hauled before the courts for trial with those convicted of violence or other electoral malpractice getting their punishments.

Zimbabwe needs a peaceful and credible, free and fair election in which everyone is free to campaign, free to vote for anyone they want to represent them politically and free to celebrate when their preferred candidates win. Losers must be ready to accept the will of the people and wait for the next election.

Source - The Chronicle