PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has said his ruling Zanu-PF party will soon be launching its 2023 election campaign in Chipinge district, Manicaland province. He and his party are bubbling with confidence that victory is certain.
The opposition, meanwhile, is super confident of unseating Zanu-PF from a seat it has been perched since the country gained independence 43 years ago.
The excitement around these and every other election is palpable and obviously welcome and shows people’s eagerness to exercise their right to choose their leaders by casting their votes in a peaceful, fair and transparent manner.
Unfortunately for Zimbabwe, general elections have been everything but peaceful, fair and transparent.
While the issue of fairness and transparency in past plebiscites can be subject to debate, the issue of violence is something no one can dispute because this is one of the major obstacles that make many Zimbabweans fearful of a general election.
All eyes will, therefore, be on Mnangagwa when he launches his re-election bid in Chipinge. Some of us are certainly keen to hear him repeat again and again that the August 23 election should be different from past elections by being peaceful.
He has been chanting the message of peaceful elections for quite some time now and we sincerely hope that he repeats this message in Chipinge and follow it up by stipulating the penalty awaiting anyone from his party who incites violence.
During his party’s April primary elections, candidates were warned that they would be disqualified if they incited violence and this warning should be repeated to those representing his party this term because their conduct will tarnish not only the ruling party’s image, but his very own reputation.
Past experience has shown us that some very excitable people in the ruling party, especially from the youth and war veterans wings, have been so overzealous about wanting their party to win to the point of beating up and threatening voters opposed to the party.
In this election, Mnangagwa and his party should prove that Zimbabweans genuinely support him and his party because coercion in whatever form will ruin him and his party’s image and reputation.
The late Vice-President John Landa Nkomo coined a very apt rallying call for peace when he said: “Peace begins with me, peace begins with you and peace begins with all of us.”
So it is up to Mnangagwa to set the ball rolling on the critical issue of peace before, during and after the August 23 polls. At the moment, he holds the key to a peaceful, fair and credible 2023 election and as he heads to Chipinge, we sincerely hope that peace is at the top of the message he will deliver.
Source – newsday