Citizens Coalition of Change (CCC) leader Nelson Chamisa recently chided a candidate for Redcliff – Lloyd Mukapiko – for making offensive remarks about President Emmerson Mnangagwa, in what could be a departure from the usual hate-mongering and incendiary language in the run up to the August 23 elections.
According to a Midlands publication, Public Eye, Chamisa took the microphone from Mukapiko during a CCC rally in Kwekwe on August 8 – just as the lawmaker had started to insult the Zanu PF leader.
Rebuking Mukapiko, Chamisa urged all CCC supporters to be respectful of other political parties and desist from engaging in actions that could flare up clashes with other political formations.
He pointed out that political rallies must be used to enunciate policies and not as a platform to denigrate opponents.
“We are all children of God. We don’t insult others at rallies. We must correct the language because we have to be different,” Chamisa is quoted as saying by the publication.
“We don’t use such offensive language against President Emmerson Mnangagwa. We respectfully differ with him. Let us not abuse such platforms,” Chamisa added.
There are credible fears of outbreak of violence that could mar the elections.
Zimbabwe suffers from endemic violence and since Independence elections have been characterised by violence and bloodletting.
In the last edition in 2018, at least six people died following clashes between security forces and protestors who had reportedly sought to disrupt vote counting in Harare.
The incident was a blot on the election process that had won significant praise from observers.
Now, peace is being regarded as one of the currencies to ensure credibility of the election that could be key in gaining acceptance by the international community.
However, despite exhortations and warnings by President Mnangagwa, violent incidents have been recorded, often blamed on the ruling party.
During the rally in Kwekwe, CCC candidate for Kwekwe Central Judith Tobaiwa criticised the party’s political opponents for allegedly engaging in violence to instil fear within the community.
“I want to thank our Kwekwe Central CCC supporters for their bravery of attending the rally after our political opponents detonated mining explosives at the venue,” Tobaiwa said.
“Instead of using the mining explosives for mining activities, they have turned them on members of the community. We thank God for protecting the citizens,” Tobaiwa added.
Both the CCC and Zanu PF are seen as the major players during the harmonised elections, which will be held on August 23.
As the date of the polls approach, President Mnangagwa has called upon Zimbabweans to be peaceful during campaigns and to tolerate each other by not engaging in violent acts against other political parties.