Wednesday, 25 July 2018

TOO MUCH FREEDOM IN ZIM : ENVOYS

THE pre-election environment has been characterised by “too much” freedom and some opposition parties are now abusing that liberty, diplomats said yesterday.

The envoys, who met Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Dr Sibusiso Moyo in Harare, said the new dispensation had “freed” Zimbabweans.

Dr Moyo was briefing the diplomats on preparations for the harmonised elections slated for Monday next week.

Dean of African diplomats and Democratic Republic of Congo Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Mwawapanga Mwanananga said Zimbabweans should value the prevailing peace.
“The current environment is characterised by too much freedom,” he said. “When you give your children some freedom they tend to abuse it. The Zimbabwean people should understand that freedom is there for you, but you should manage it properly.

“I think the new dispensation has freed the people of Zimbabwe. They are enjoying this freedom, but they should not abuse it because, as everybody can see, the environment is peaceful. Where there is peace, there are always people, some thugs, who want to derail (the process) and cause havoc, but overall, I have been here long enough to tell the people of Zimbabwe that this is the most peaceful election season I have witnessed in Zimbabwe.

“Use it wisely so that next week we can all celebrate,” he said.
United States ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Brian Nichols said: “The preparations (for elections) have gone quite largely well. I think there are still some issues to be resolved, but progress as compared to past elections is impressive. The key is that Zimbabweans express their will at the ballot box. It’s your voice, your vote, go vote.”
British Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mrs Catriona Laing said levels of violence had gone down in the country.
She urged Government to continue clearing the air on the role of traditional leaders and army in the polls.

“We appreciate the comments that the Government has made to try and correct that,” she said. “In these final stages, there are two important issues. One is assuring the voters on the secrecy of their vote and assuring that the military will have no direct involvement in this election and will accept results.

“Everybody needs to play their part, the Government and the opposition. Everybody needs to be responsible and ensure a peaceful transfer of power to whoever wins the election.”
In his remarks, Dr Moyo said Government was satisfied that the full election cycle had gone smoothly, according to the Constitution and within set timeframes.

“We are happy that the campaign period has been largely peaceful, except for insignificant intra-party skirmishes that characterised the political parties’ primary elections,” he said.

“We unreservedly deplore the isolated terror attack at White City Stadium on July 23, 2018, which targeted the entire top leadership of the ruling party, Zanu-PF. I assure you that the competent arms of Government are very much seized with the matter. As Government, we appreciate the solidarity messages we have received from you.”

Dr Moyo said Government had put in place measures to ensure election observers – who responded to President Mnangagwa’s invitation overwhelmingly – carried out their work “unhindered and unperturbed.”

“As Government, we have to ensure that all stakeholders in these harmonised elections fully participate without any hindrance or impediments and this has enabled all political parties to freely campaign and reach out to all constituencies of the country,” Dr Moyo said.

“The same applies to civil society organisations and media registered with Government. We really take joy from this remarkable development. As Government, we are deeply and truly grateful for all the electoral assistance that has been rendered by our cooperating partners and which we believe will greatly assist in delivering a successful election.”

Dr Moyo said the untoward rhetoric and provocations by some stakeholders threatened the peace and tranquillity in the country.

“We can only conjecture that these are macabre machinations meant to tarnish our democratic traditions, electoral institutions and above all unleash violence and mayhem that may lead to postponement or cancellations of the elections altogether,” he said.

“We applaud the very impartial stance taken by all the observers so far who have seen these selfish pretences. We want to assure our people that their vote will be secret, sacrosanct and fully protected. Government will ensure the rule of law is respected by all and order will prevail.”
Government, Dr Moyo said, wanted to ensure all democratic institutions were respected and allowed to execute their mandates freely.

Meanwhile, Dr Moyo yesterday said the ruling party was leading by example in the conduct of mature politics by ignoring taunts and insults from other political outfits.
In a post on Twitter, Dr Moyo said instead Zanu-PF would concentrate on its main objective of rallying behind President  Mnangagwa and party candidates ahead of the harmonised elections next Monday.

“We’ve been quiet while abuse has been spewed at us over the last few months, its called maturity not dumbness!

“We are not here to denigrate but simply to say what we’ve done and where we’re going! The message is simple and true — vote for ED Mnangagwa for the simple truth!” posted Dr Moyo.

In a telephone interview with The Chronicle last night, Dr Moyo said Zanu-PF, as a ruling party, had to lead by example and not partake in petty fights.

“Zanu-PF is a ruling party so it cannot act like an opposition and neither can it act like a cry baby like the opposition. We are not attacking anyone in the opposition just because we want to introduce civil politics and this civil politics should be embedded within the values of this country,” he said.
Dr Moyo said the party wanted to promote and maintain peace in the country, especially on the eve of elections.

“The fact that we are not responding to certain accusations which are directed at the party or at the officials does not necessarily mean that we are unable to, but we are tolerating all that for the purposes of peace and tranquility,” he said.

Dr Moyo said most insults directed at the party, the Office of the President and person of the President and party officials emanated from social media. Herald

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