Die is cast, no to violence to win votes

ZANU PF aspiring candidates Winston Chitando, Lovemore Matuke and John Paradza at the Masvingo Magistrate's court for nomination

NOW that the die is cast, with all candidates for the August 23 harmonised elections having successfully filed their papers at the nomination courts, we look forward to mature politics going into the actual poll.

Leaders of various political parties contesting in the poll should lead by example during the campaign period so that we prove to the world that Zimbabwe has come of age and is now truly a mature democracy.

The past elections have earned our beautiful country names such as “rogue State”, “pariah State” and many others because of the way we managed our electoral processes. We believe it’s time we rid ourselves of these negative tags and be counted among enlightened nations. The only way to  achieve this is by ensuring our elections are free and fair.

Gone are the days of using hate speech, inflammatory language and violence to cow the electorate. These vices do not only make the environment toxic but cast the country in bad light.

It’s high time our politicians appreciated that politics is a contestation of ideas and not physical strength. The one with the most appealing message should win the contest, with losers gracefully accept defeat — that’s the hallmark of political maturity.

With just about two months before the polls, we look forward to the law enforcement agents, election observers and monitors to be on the ground to ensure a level playing field despite glaring discrepancies already noted mainly by the opposition.

These include a ban on their campaign rallies, lack of electoral reforms, unavailability of an auditable soft copy of the voters roll, and alleged selective application of the law and bias by the police and Judiciary. While these factors have a bearing on the final outcome of the polls, we believe the nation can still hold a relatively free and fair election if all candidates are granted free access to the electorate.

Dubious organisations such as Forever Associates Zimbabwe should not be part of the election machinery if we are to avoid another disputed poll.

The media should also be given ample space to exercise its role of informing and educating the electorate without fear or favour. On election day, the security of the vote and voter should be accorded utmost importance.

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