Heal Zimbabwe welcomes the historic signing of the peace pledge by political parties ahead of the 2018 elections.
The peace pledge signing arrangement was brokered by the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) in a bid to promote inclusive prevention of violence and conflicts as a strategy for promoting lasting peace.
Heal Zimbabwe notes that this is a positive step towards the attainment of peace ahead of the July 2018 elections and this also affirms an important role which political parties should play in ensuring that peace prevails before, during and after elections. In past violent episodes, political parties have been accused of inculcating a culture of political intolerance among their supporters through hate speech and degrading slogans, which incite hate and animosity among political players and citizens.
Heal Zimbabwe further notes that while the signing of the peace pledge is commendable, political parties must also uphold the provisions of the code of conduct for political parties and candidates, which seeks to promote conditions that are conducive for free and fair elections and a climate of tolerance in which electioneering activities may take place without fear, coercion, intimidation or reprisals.
Added to this, independent commissions such as the NPRC and the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission must, in consultation with civil society and other relevant stakeholders, develop mechanisms for early detection of areas of potential conflict and dispute and take appropriate preventive measures to ensure that the forthcoming elections are conducted in a peaceful environment. Heal Zimbabwe also implores ordinary citizens to uphold peace and shun violence since building peace requires multiple stakeholder participation.