MUTARE residents have hailed the peaceful pre-election environment obtaining in the province and country in general, and quickly gave credit to the Government, law enforcement agents and political parties for preaching unity.
With 17 days left to the plebiscite, the country is stable, save for a few incidences of intra-party political violence linked to factionalism.
The Manica Post went on to the streets and interviewed people on the impending elections.
Sheila Marange from Dangamvura said all was calm.
“We have never experienced such a peaceful pre-election environment since 1980. In previous elections the two major political parties, Zanu-PF and the MDC did not see eye-to-eye, resulting in violent skirmishes that resulted in loss of lives. That was then. Today people are campaigning freely without any hindrance. The levels of tolerance are high,” she said.
Marange said it was her wish that the obtaining conditions remain in place even after the announcement of the results.
Joel Mutero from Chikanga said Zimbabweans were behaving well.
“Had it been the last pre-election season in 2013, a lot of people would have been hurt. I actually suffered in political violence back then. However, this time around, we are guaranteed that no life is going to be lost. We are even sticking our posters freely. They are not being removed,” he said.
Mutero said he was looking forward to a peaceful election day on July 30 and urged candidates to accept whatever results that come out.
A vendor, Sarudzai Gwata (40) said: “There is peace and aspiring candidates are using friendly methods to lure us to vote for them. Unlike in 2008 people were harassed and forced to vote for people they don’t like. Many were beaten up. It was bloody. This peaceful mood is commendable and it’s as if we are not going to have elections.”
Blessing Murira (38) from Sakubva high-density suburb said: “There is equality in the media. All political parties are being recognized in the media and we are free to vote for whoever we want. People are now free to say whatever they want and I think elections are going in the right direction.”
Ms Chimboza from Chikanga said the prevailing peaceful conditions were historic.
“We have never been this free. Free to say whatever we want. Free to wear party regalia without being harassed.
‘‘Our political leaders have done a good job of setting an example of peace. This spirit must not die but continue during and after the elections. We are now free to associate with people or groupings we want. The media is covering anyone, a thing that was absent in the past.”
Knowledge Chituro from Dangamvura said whenever good prevails, bad elements chip in to spoil the party.
“We urge our law enforcement agents to ruthlessly deal with cases of political violence. Perpetrators must be arrested and taken to the courts quickly.
‘‘The media must come in and report on those matters so that the nation and the outside world see that political violence has no place in Zimbabwe,” he said.