HARARE – Senators and chiefs have urged political parties to ensure the looming 2018 general elections are peaceful, amid a rise in violence that they blamed on ambitious politicians staking claims as candidates.
This comes as critics and opponents say President Robert Mugabe has hung on to power by unleashing violence and terror, among other tactics.
Senator for the disabled Nyamayabo Mashavakure said “I think it is not good enough for us as MPs to drive people in a certain direction in which we might antagonise them against each other”.
“Whether they come from Harare, Seke, Chiweshe, et cetera, people are people of Zimbabwe and should be free to be wherever. As MPs, let us not incite antagonism among our people.”
“Political parties should be taught how to create peace among people who have different opinions with them,” Zanu PF Manicaland senator Judith Mawire said.
She pleaded with the political leadership to uphold peace.
“I am saying to any leader of any political party, they should preach peace. What we know is that Zimbabwe practices democracy and the Constitution allows us to have many political parties. This means we have to agree to disagree on our political differences,” she said.
MDC Midlands Senator Lillian Timveos said violence is mainly fanned by lazy politicians.
“You can pass through your neighbour’s field and notice that she is doing very well tilling the fields and you are pained by that.
“So, most of the time even when we come to politics, if you really look closely, you find that people who are violent during election time are the Members of Parliament who do not stay within the constituency,” she said.
“They stay here in Harare and when it is almost time for elections, they go back and want to force people to do what they want.
“So, most violent people are lazy because if you represent people well and meet with them every time, I do not think there will be any reason to be violent because you will have worked with them already,” she said.
“ . . . our chiefs can help and do a good job if they could sit down with the people in their areas, and also educate them on the negative effects of violence.”
Chief Chisunga said all political parties must play a role in denouncing violence.
“It is our desire as traditional leaders who are neutral to stand up and tell the country that it is not good to tolerate violence.
“When we stand up to denounce violence, we are not saying Zanu PF stop the violence, MDC stop the violence, we are simply saying as traditional leaders for our nation and the sake of our young people who are growing up and are tomorrow’s leaders, I think we should be tolerant of each other because we are different; we think differently and we should be perceived differently hence the issue of tolerance.”