By Brian Maphosa
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has urged political opponents to shun violence as the country gears for fresh elections not later than this August.
Mnangagwa was speaking in a keynote address to mark the country’s 38 years of independence on Wednesday.
The event was attended by opposition politicians who finally broke from their routine boycott of national events citing ill-treatment and their monopolisation by the parties’ common rival.
But as Zimbabwe’s nears fresh polls this year, fears remain that Zanu PF, the country’s most violent party according to regular reports by the Zimbabwe Peace Project, could resort to violence as it seeks to drum up support ahead of the crucial polls.
In his address, President Mnangagwa appealed to his rivals to shun violence.
“In a few months’ time, our country will hold harmonised general elections,” he said.
“I urge all leaders of political parties to heed the call of our national anthem and I quote ‘be exemplary’ end of quote. During our contestations and canvassing for people’s support, lets us shun and condemn all forms of violence, divisive, hateful and hate speech.
“My government has put in place measures for the holding of transparent free, fair and credible elections.
“In that spirit, we have invited observers from across the globe to witness our democracy in action and have since received pre-election observer missions from SADC, the AU and EU.”
Although Zanu PF opponents have raised concern over continued failure by the Zanu PF led government to roll out electoral reforms, there have been a few complaints around violence.
The most visible violence of late has seen former MDC-T Vice President Thokozani Khupe targeted by suspected party supporters for opposing Nelson Chamisa’s ascendancy to the helm of the main opposition.
Chamisa has blamed Khupe’s assaults on Zanu PF but has not provided any evidence to prove his claims.