HARARE JUNE 6, 2017(CISA)-The Zimbabwe Catholics Bishops Conference (ZCBC) has called upon the citizens of Zimbabwe to shun any form of violence amid approaching elections.
In a pastoral letter released on June 4 titled, “Elections, Peace and Development,” the bishops said that violence and coercion discredit elections while people should be free to make their choices without being compromised.
“Reject all forms of violence and coercion. Violence and coercion only serve to discredit our elections. Any use of force takes away the credibility and integrity of the elections. People must be able to make free choices according to their own judgment,” the bishops said in a statement.
They further urged political parties, the government and individuals to strictly adhere to and respect the constitution of Zimbabwe, which was overwhelmingly approved by a referendum vote on May 2013.
“We have our own constitution, a great achievement and it says in one place: The state and every person including the juristic persons, and every institution and agency of government at every level must promote national unity, peace and stability,” they noted.
They urged Zimbabweans to respect each other as elections approaches as per the teachings of the church.
“As we prepare for 2018, let us respect each other and even mirror in our words and actions the love of God, Father of us all,” the bishops added.
The bishops appealed to the government of President Robert Mugabe to ensure that citizens enjoy their political rights and freedom of expression.
Zimbabwe plunged into political and electoral crisis in 2008 following disputed elections results.
The ruling party ZANU-PF and MDC blamed each other for perpetrating violence.
South Africa former President Thabo Mbeki brokered a power sharing deal that saw the formation of a Government of National Unity (GNU) that ended the standoff.