Churches call for violence -free polls


OVER 400 clerics drawn from various denominations are set to converge in Harare today to map out a joint campaign against political violence ahead of next year’s general elections.

by XOLISANI NCUBE

The campaign comes on the backdrop of previous polls that have witnessed bloodshed and intimidation, mainly targeting opposition activists.

Some of the church groupings invited to the meeting include Zimbabwe Council of Churches, Zimbabwe Divine Destiny, Christian Alliance, Prayer Network Zimbabwe and Zimbabwe Pastors’ Fellowship.

In a joint communiqué issued ahead of the indaba, the church leaders said they would make a formal declaration demanding a violence-free 2018 election campaign from the contesting political parties and candidates.

“Political parties will refrain from and restrain their party members from adopting violence and intimidation as a campaign tool, otherwise they lose the ‘Christian vote,’ read part of the communiqué.

In the run-up to the 2008 and 2013 elections, the opposition claimed that there was rampant intimidation of its supporters particularly in rural areas which resulted in President Robert Mugabe having an unfair upper hand over his main rival MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

Besides violence, the church leaders also want to tackle corruption which they said was bleeding the economy.

“Corruption keeps incompetent people in positions of leadership while blocking skilled and experienced professionals from serving our country. Incompetency causes continued dilapidation of infrastructure and social services,” the churches said.

In the past, Zanu PF has accused the church of campaigning for the opposition, a charge the churches have denied.

Source