By Linda Masarira
To: The President of Zimbabwe and First Secretary of ZanuPF Cde Emmerson D. Mnangagwa
CC: President of All People’s Party Peter Ndlovu
• President of Citizens Coalition for Change Nelson Chamisa
• President of Democratic Opposition Party
• President of Movement for Democratic Change Alliance Douglas Mwonzora
• President of Federation of African State Party
• President of Free Zimbabwe Congress Joseph Busha
•President of MA’AT Zimbabwe Pepukai Begede
• President of New Patriotic Front Engineer Peter Munyanduri
• President of Patriotic Zimbabweans Charles Muchineripi-Mutama
• President of Republican Party Kwanele Hlabangana
• President of United Democratic Alliance Daniel Shumba
• President of United Zimbabwe Alliance Elisabeth Valerio
• President of Zimbabwe Labour Party Langton Machoko
From : The President of Labour Economists and Afrikan Democrats Linda T. Masarira
RE: Ending intolerance and political violence in Zimbabwe’s political economy
Humble greetings to you esteemed leaders of Political Parties in Zimbabwe. I am sure we are all in agreement that we desire conditions that are conducive to free, fair and credible elections and a climate of tolerance in which we can all campaign freely without fear or favour, coercion or intimidation as enshrined in the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Code of Conduct for all Political Parties and candidates.
It is with sadness that I write to all of you reminding you that we all have an obligation to reprimand our followers from engaging in politically motivated violence. Naturally, the followers follow the tone of their leaders and their actions are subject to mimicry of their own leadership.
The past two weeks have recorded a sharp increase of political violence and one life has already been lost. The resurgence of violence in some constituencies having by elections is a major cause of concern as it is a violation of the Electoral Code of Conduct.
Having different political opinions doesn’t make us enemies, having different political preferences shouldn’t make us foes. We should all thrive to unite in our diversity in our quest to develop Zimbabwe by being the first Peace Ambassadors in the political organizations we lead. We are in the 21st century, we should all leave a legacy of being the leaders that ended political violence in Zimbabwe by nurturing a conducive environment for tolerance, peace, harmony and democracy to prevail.
LEAD has not been spared of political violence as we continue to be attacked, insulted and harassed particularly in Epworth Constituency. The LEAD candidate for ward 7 Masvingo urban has also been a victim of political violence from both CCC and Zanupf supporters. Everyday in the media, we are reading of unending reports of political violence which is totally unacceptable in a multiparty democracy like Zimbabwe.
In 2018 most political parties signed a peace pledge and pledged to restrain their supporters from engaging in political violence. We can never end political violence by name-calling and insulting opponents at rallies, it just entrenches intolerance and violence. Let me remind you that we must all promote conditions that are conducive to free, fair and democratic elections.
Once a life is lost it can never be reincarnated. As leaders we need to respect Section 48 of the constitution of Zimbabwe which enshrined every Zimbabwean’s Right to Life and section 58 which enshrines the Right to Freedom of Assembly and Association. No one has a monopoly on leadership and no one amongst all of us is more Zimbabwean than the other.
Cde Emmerson Mnangagwa we therefore request that we have an all Presidents meeting with all ZEC officials and make a commitment to the people of Zimbabwe as the leaders participating in the by elections to ensure that we end any form of political violence. We need a sincere show cause to end political violence from the highest office of the land. We all want peaceful elections with uncontested results.
ZEC has also not been serious about handling complaints of political violence, I note LEAD still has a pending complaint which hasn’t been actioned as the other party did not attend the hearing last week and little effort was made by ZEC to call the other party to the hearing. ZEC is failing to play it’s role fully and that is a major cause of concern which needs to be deliberated by all stakeholders involved.
With your indulgence, esteemed Presidents, I am requesting for a meeting of all political party leaders, ZEC and NPRC to dialogue on the following;
1. Take a public oath for upholding Violence Free elections and denouncing all forms of electoral violence.
2. The possibility of an urgent electoral amendment bill which enshrines stiff penalties for any individual or political party that incites and perpetrates political violence
3. Banning of political parties that thrive on political violence to coerce votes through intimidation.
4. Finding a sustainable and immediate solution to end political violence.
5. Encourage collectively on the importance of nurturing peace to ensure sustainable human development of all Zimbabweans.
We all have a responsibility to protect, foster peaceful, just and inclusive societies.
Elections are just an event where citizens choose a leader of their choice. Violence leads to loss of life, property and social cohesion.
#TogetherWeCan end political violence united in our diversity.