“Let us all be responsible citizens who, after all has come and gone, will be remembered as men and women of that generation who were so united that their ideological differences could not divide them. If anything, they remained united as they celebrated their unity in diversity,” Catholic Bishops in Zimbabwe say.
They call on politicians to be “responsible in your utterances”, and they should avoid using “inflammatory, politically charged and derogatory language.”
“Distinguish yourselves as noble men and women worthy of people's votes. You have a huge responsibility for the lives of our people. In these weeks you have spaces and the power to influence the citizens. Exercise this privilege responsibly,” ZCBC members say.
They add, “History will judge you harshly, should the nation be divided because of you. After all the campaigns and elections have come and gone, there remains not just party people to be governed, but the whole nation. If you divide the citizens now, it will be difficult to govern a divided nation. As you go about your campaigns persuade the citizens to vote for you, convince them of your ideas and aim for willing support.”
The Catholic Church leaders also appeal to the media in the country to “stand up and be counted in peace building.”
They further say that media practitioners in Zimbabwe need to give coverage to all political campaigns in non-partisan ways.
“Report without fear or favor. Avoid misrepresentations and biased reporting. Let your role be that of midwifery, enable all politicians to be heard. It is not for you to be mouthpieces of particular parties,” ZCBC members say.
Zimbabwe’s Catholic Church leaders urge security agents in the country to maintain peace and justice during the electioneering period.
“Let all the perpetrators of political violence and those who employ hate speech be held accountable for their actions and words. Let no citizen usurp your power by 'manning entrances' to some districts, thus denying parties access to the electorate,” they say.
Zimbabwe’s Catholic Bishops also call upon the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) officials to ensure they deliver free, fair, and credible polls.