MUTARE– The National Peace and Reconciliation Commision (NPRC) has urged Zimbabweans to embrace the incoming political electoral season with respect and maturity to stop the recurrence of cyclic political violence that has become synonymous with polls.
Speaking on behalf of the NPRC chairperson Retired Justice Selo Nare in Mutare last week, Commissioner Lilian Chigwedere said they are well poised to advance promotion of peace building initiatives among communities as the country heads towards 2023 elections.
Commissioner Nare called for political actors to minimize hate speech on social media, promote tolerance, respect and the values of Ubuntu in political engagements.
“Currently, there is an increasing shift in focus to the 2023 elections. In order to guarantee non-recurrence of perennial elections related conflicts, it is necessary to take robust and deliberative dialogue actions, targeting already existing peace building infrastructures and stakeholders to ensure that possibilities of conflicts re-emerging based on past lived experiences are curtailed.
“We thus anticipate that we reflect on the upcoming elections in order to develop provincial plans of the preventative actions that will be taken to ensure peace, unity and cohesion,” said Nare.
Minister of State for Devolution and Provincial affairs Nokuthula Mastikenyere, in remarks read on her behalf by Provincial Development Coordinator Edgars Seenza, said preventative models are sustainable ways of conflict prevention.
Mastikenyere said inclusive dialogue, tolerance and engagement from the grassroots level helps to end eruption of cyclic electoral violence, uncertainties and tensions that come with elections.
“This is a sign that the government has confidence that at a local level we can pursue our interest and pursue developmental agenda at the ground level. This is evidence of the success of the president’s visions of decentralizing decision making to the local level.
“Government will commit to supporting the commission with resources. Hopefully this will take the commission close to the people where real and cyclical conflict takes place,” said Matsikenyere.
However, the works of the NPRC seems cut out as the cycle of political violence has already erupted at a provincial level, with the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU PF) Manicaland provincial structure currently embroiled in violent clashes.
Recently, the ZANU PF provincial leadership clashed at Mary Mount Teachers College during a Provincial Coordinating Committee (PCC) meeting with youth leader Danmore Mambondiani bashed during the melee.
Opposition politician Nelson Chamisa of the Movement of Democratic Change (MDC) Alliance also alleges by youths linked to ZANU PF fired shots at his convoy during his visit in Manicaland last week.