By Tichaona Sibanda
1 March 2013
Political leaders in the inclusive government must reaffirm their commitment to a peaceful and tolerant election campaign and appeal to their supporters to do the same, an aspiring MDC-T parliamentary candidate has said.
Jaison Matewu, who is eyeing the Buhera West seat currently held by Constitutional Affairs Minister Eric Matinenga, expressed the hope that both the participants and electorate would reject inflammatory rhetoric, violence and fraudulent actions in the forthcoming poll.
Matinenga is stepping down at the end of this parliamentary term. His chosen successor, Professor John Makumbe, died recently forcing Matewu to join the race at the last minute.
Speaking on SW Radio Africa’s Election Watch program on Friday, Matewu, one of the few cadres from the MDC-T UK to go back home to contest the primaries, said the recent spate of violence in the country has raised more concerns about the preparedness of both the government and the citizens of Zimbabwe to conduct the upcoming election peacefully.
There is deep concern about the latest developments in the country. Memories of the 2008 election-related violence are still fresh, where over 500 people lost their lives, tens of thousands were tortured and 500,000 were displaced.
At the time the regional SADC bloc and the African Union brokered the shaky unity government that has been in place till now, but analysts believe there is no guarantee that this year’s election will not be as bloody as the one in 2008.
‘Insecurity has taken centre stage in Zimbabwe again, said Matewu. ‘We want calm before elections.’
Matewu said this year’s election will be regarded as one of the most significant events in the history of the country: ‘The elections are also significant because they will be the very first to be organized under a new constitution, which provides for safeguards against unfair, insecure, non- transparent or inefficiently administrated elections,’ explained Matewu.