THE signing of the peace pledge by about 20 of the 23 presidential candidates contesting the July 30 elections, binding themselves to a code of conduct compelling them to campaign peacefully, is commendable as they should be held accountable for any incidences of violence by their party members.
The National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) must be commended also for a job well done for coming up with the document that spells how the political leaders and their parties should conduct themselves during the campaign period, voting and after the results.
It is incumbent upon all aspiring leaders across the country to pledge to maintain peace during this period as lives have been lost unnecessarily during campaigns.
Hence, we call all political leaders including the main rivals — Zanu PF presidential candidate Emmerson Mnangagwa and MDC-T leader and MDC Alliance presidential candidate Nelson Chamisa — to ensure their supporters hold peace.
Many a time, the two main parties supporters have engaged in fights exposing the majority of the citizenry while the police has also aggravated violence by the ruling party apparatchiks.
No doubt, Zimbabweans have in the past suffered State-sponsored violence for the past 38 years and it is important that the government must take responsibility for peace.
We also challenge traditional leaders, senior government officials and the State security apparatus to be impartial abetting violence by ruling party activists.
We believe life is sacrosanct as such there is no reason for political leaders to use intimidation as a tool to force the majority to vote for party activists to vote for candidates they do not wish to vote for.
We urge political leaders not to use inflammatory or hate language as the country edges towards a crucial plebiscite. We also dissuade State security apparatus from working to advance political agendas for certain political parties.
We believe the signing of the peace pledge should give impetus to the call for unity, peace and zero tolerance to violence before, during and after this election.
It is our contention that the parties needed to have signed the pledge before the campaigns started. Due to the delay in the signing of the peace pledge there have been pockets of violence in our communities due to hate speech by party leaders across the divide.
Let the people choose the government of their choice without being coerced to do so. If the leaders stick to the letter and spirit of the peace pledge, then Zimbabwe would have been open for business for real.
We condemn any unruly behaviour by political party leaders for it is possible to put their point across without resorting to violence. We urge political players to be level-headed to avoid the pitfalls of using violence during the election –the world is watching.