‘We want bloodless by-elections’ – ZHOCD
ZIMBABWE Heads of Christian Denominations (ZHOCD) has petitioned government demanding bloodless by-elections and timely release of results among other issues.
The Southern Africa nation has a traceable record of delaying the announcement of election results and loss of lives in each elective process.
In 2018 about six people lost their lives after soldiers besieged the streets to quell demonstrations by citizens who were demanding the urgent release of election results.
Despite the Monthlanthe Commission of Inquiry into the killings establishing that the military had a case to answer, the government has not brought anyone to account.
In a statement this week, ZHOCD pleaded with authorities to create a peace environment ahead of the polls.
“We call for the absence of a single soul that is lost before, during and after the by elections due to political violence, inclusive and sustained electoral dialogue that provides accompaniment to the by elections so that emerging and existing issues are addressed in a peaceful manner,”the church leaders said.
They also demanded the guaranteed secrecy of the ballot , the observance of the principle of non-discrimination where voters cast their ballot without regard to their race, sex, political allegiance, religion, national origin, language or any other basis.
“The promotion of peace by all stakeholders is of paramount importance. This should be the utmost priority for all, professional and non-partisan conduct of our security forces as they discharge their constitutional duties within the by elections context,” the organ said.
The leaders said the 2013 Constitution and the Electoral Act must remain the key guiding documents for electoral processes on the basis that the by elections are necessary constitutional process so as to ensure that the power of the electorate in choosing their parliamentary or local authority representatives remains with them.
They reiterated that so far ,they were encouraged to see the citizens across the political divide making preparations to participate in this critical process.
“The Election Management Body and other relevant institutions must provide timely, accurate and complete information to the electorate to enable them to make informed decisions throughout the election period,” added ZHOCD.
The organ is made up of the Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe (EFZ), Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops Conference (ZCBC), Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC) and Union for Development of Apostolic and Zionist Churches in Zimbabwe (UDACIZA).