Ashirwad Chidkwa Herald Reporter
Yesterday a delegation of Bishops from the All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC) in talks with President Mnangagwa said that this year’s harmonious elections would be held in a free, fair, credible and peaceful manner.
Bishops from South Africa, Tanzania, South Sudan, Ghana, Zambia and local peoples, who are in talks with various stakeholders in the country ahead of this year’s elections, met the President at State House.
President Mnangagwa and his ruling Zanu PF party have already set the tone for peaceful elections through their promotion of non-violent conduct in the period before, during and after the election.
Speaking after meeting with President Mnangagwa at State House, AACC vice-president and team leader from Burundi, Archbishop Martin Blaise Nyabho, said he was confident Zimbabwe would hold peaceful elections.
Archbishop Nyaboho said they had come to Zimbabwe as part of a team from the AACC ahead of the elections with a message of peace.
“We have come to encourage Zimbabweans to avoid hate speech during campaigns to avoid violence before, during and after elections.
“So, we are honored to meet His Excellency the President, after talks we will agree that elections in Zimbabwe will be free, fair, credible and peaceful,” he said.
In a statement, the AACC said his visit is part of a worldwide program of Eminent Persons for Peace in Africa.
“The dignitaries are pleased to note that you have endeavored to make the electoral environment conducive to free and fair elections through the ratification of the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance.
“This is indeed a positive step towards democracy, and the Church hopes and prays that the provisions of the Charter will be implemented and respected by all Zimbabweans,” the statement reads.
In its statement, the AACC said the visit was also premised on rallying support for President Mnangagwa’s voice and strengthening the peaceful atmosphere as the country engages in electoral processes.
“It is our prayer and wish that the government and all other political players set up mechanisms to maintain peace in this election season. Your Excellency, peace is fragile and thus all Zimbabweans must jealously guard it,” the statement read.
The church said the delegation also appreciated the formation of the Political Actors’ Dialogue (POLAD) platform for political players to engage in dialogue on national issues.
“Indeed, this is a great opportunity for Zimbabweans to find each other and find domestic solutions to their own issues,” reads part of the statement.
Although Pastor said the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission is doing its best to prepare for the elections, he hopes to address some of the concerns emerging from the procedures, including voter registration and enrollment fees.
The AACC is a continental ecumenical organization that was inaugurated in 1963, and currently has a membership of 204 churches and 35 affiliates in 43 countries, including the Zimbabwe Council of Churches.
It maintains diplomatic status in the African Union as well as in Kenya and Togo where it has offices and a liaison office in the African Union.
AACC representatives include Bishop Archbishop Mambo Mandolwa (Tanzania), Rev Dr Suzanne (Zambia), Fr James Oyete Latansio (South Sudan), Ruth Mon (Malawi), Rev Pataki Moteji (South Africa), Moderator Rt Rev Dr Bliss Divine Kofi Agbeko was involved. (Ghana), and Rev. Charles Berahino (AACC Secretariat).
He was also accompanied by the President of the Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC), Bishop Dr. Ignatius Makumbe, Rev. Wilfred Dimingu, (ZCC General Secretary), Admire Mutizwa, (ZCC CPJS Director) and Joshua Mhlanga, (ZCC Midlands Regional Coordinator).