VICE-PRESIDENT Kembo Mohadi has challenged political parties participating in this year’s general elections to campaign peacefully to ensure free, fair and credible polls.
Addressing a 2018 harmonised elections peace symposium at the University of Zimbabwe yesterday, Mohadi said citizens should demonstrate to the world that the country has come of age.
BY STAFF REPORTER
“Our electoral laws offer equal conditions and opportunities for citizens to have access to polling stations and to vote and so every citizen should help us uphold these laws,” he said.
Mohadi said the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission was mandated to undertake voter education and other related processes to safeguard the vote.
“Voter education mitigates the risk of violence by educating the electorate on democratic procedures and responsibilities, thereby empowering vulnerable communities, and enhancing the legitimacy and transparency of the voting process.”
Mohadi said President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s new administration had ushered in freedom of expression, association and assembly to enable various parties to campaign freely.
“Regrettably, it is at these campaigns that inciting messages and hate speech can be relayed and trigger violent acts which destabilise our communities. Such should be avoided,” he said.
“Let us all use our preventive diplomacy, persuasion and alert potential conflict brewers about the consequences of incitement.”
Mohadi also challenged the media to avoid propagating hate speech.
“Therefore, the media should avoid inflammatory language that steers conflicts at all costs. Our local media should at no cost be overshadowed by foreign media,” he said.
The symposium, which was organised by the UZ’s English department in conjunction with the Election Resources Centre, brought together researchers, civic groups, students, security officials, traditional leaders, journalists, diplomats, government officials among others with a view to share ideas about the forthcoming elections.