Peace: Everyone must head the call

In this issue we carry a heartwarming story on Nyanga South candidates, Supa Mandiwanzira and his Citizens Coalition for Change counterpart, Ruxandra McCormick, embracing and promoting peace in this election.

Mandiwanzira posted a message on Twitter saying he chose the way of peace rather than violence.

This is an important symbolism. For so long Zimbabwe’s major elections have been characterised by violence and bloodshed, as rivals engaged in gruesome hostilities. Since 1980, violence has splattered the blood of innocents, marring election processes.

The last elections, in 2018, saw violence rearing it’s ugly head again with the August 1 violence that was born out of mayhem and disruption of a process that had otherwise run smoothly and had begun to earn plaudits from observer missions.

History will record that, as various observer missions were reading out their preliminary reports that noted lots of progress and good trajectories towards international best practices, some hooligans started violence in town leading to the outbreak of violence.

Security forces responded viciously and shot protestors, leading to the death of a reported six people. That changed the narrative of the whole election.

Suddenly all the focus was on this reprehensible incident which became subject of an international inquiry known as the Montlanthe Commission.

Whoever was responsible for fomenting violence, added to the structures and evident failures on the security apparatus, it will be recorded that this was a dark episode in our country’s history.

The incident had a number of negative ramifications, including continued isolation of Zimbabwe on the international stage.

Further, this incident further hurt our collective psyche and rattle our nationhood. It is imperative that we do not go down this path again.

This is why we applaud the symbolism of Mandiwanzira and his rival embracing, liter- ally letting love lead. Violence leads to nowhere.

We commend President Mnangagwa for preaching peace and non violence, subject of which he spoke at his rally in Centenary at the weekend. Violence from what- ever cost is unacceptable.

We take further note of one think tank, in another story carried in this paper, urging political parties to follow the example of President Mnangagwa to preach peace.

Peace is going to be a currency in this election.

It is crucial that everyone heeds the call for peace. The media, for our part, should also preach peace and depolarise and de-escalate political tensions that could lead to violence. The media are an important driver of peace.

Conversely, they can be an instrument and purveyor of violence, if irresponsible.

As Review & Mail, we fully subscribe to the ideals of peace, and we will purse a strong pro-peace stance, utilising peace journalism as part of our toolkit. There are many good stories of peace to tell from political parties, citizen initiatives, civil society, institutions, observer missions and the international community.

We will be amplifying voices of peace, promoting and projecting peace and non-violence.

Further, we shall demand accountability towards peace by all actors, and expose those that foment violence.

Elections are just a passing phase, and we strong believe that this phase must be nurtured in peace and love so that they do not beget long lasting monsters.

 

 

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