The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) applauds the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) for developing the high-level election Peace Pledge for the 2018 harmonised elections.
Representatives from the various contesting political parties appended their signatures to the Peace Pledge in Harare last Tuesday at a launch that was supported by various stakeholders, including civil society organisations, diplomats, embassies, the Zimbabwe Republic Police, Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC). The public commitment to ensuring peaceful elections by the political parties is a positive development, which supports the creation of an environment that facilitates the enjoyment of fundamental freedoms by citizens. Given that previous elections have been marred by incidents of intimidation and violence against citizens and observers, it is imperative that the political parties abide by the Peace Pledge as well as the Political Parties Code of Conduct.
In addition, ZESN believes that it is crucial for the multi-party liaison committees to be strengthened at every level, including ward, district and national levels, to support the commitment by the political parties to peaceful campaigns. The NPRC should put in place mechanisms countrywide to enforce the pledge and collaborate with other stakeholders such as civic society organisations and other institutions supporting democracy, namely the ZHRC and ZEC, in monitoring the political environment ahead of the election.