Former ZPRA veterans have urged Zimbabweans to vote peacefully and shun violence in the upcoming elections.
They also condemned groups that have been perpetrating violence in the run-up to the polls.
The veterans, who spoke to journalists at the Bulawayo Media Centre on Saturday, said they wanted to see a peaceful election that would uphold the principles and founding values of the liberation struggle.
“We don’t want any form of violence as we head into national elections,” said ZPRA Veterans Association Secretary General Petros Sibanda. “We want to appeal to all political players to put human security first. Women, children, families, people with disabilities and the society at large are traumatised by violence and instability that comes during, before and after elections yet they are the future of the country.”
Sibanda called on all freedom fighters and war veterans to uphold the principles of the liberation struggle, which include selflessness, total emancipation, and the equitable distribution of national resources. He also said that war veterans should not be used as weapons of violence by any political party.
“Veterans of the struggle should unite and protect the people’s revolutionary gains and the founding values,” he said. “They should never be owned or even get arm twisted and taken advantage of by any political party or formation.”
ZPRA Veterans Association Spokesperson Buster Magwizi concurred that former freedom fighters must shun violence and refuse to be used as pawns. He also called on citizens to make well-informed electoral choices and to vote for candidates who will uphold the principles of democracy and peace.
“We say no to violence and structural violence in Zimbabwe,” he said. “Let’s respect democracy.”
The veterans’ call for peace comes amid increasing reports of voter intimidation and coercion linked to the ruling Zanu PF party.
The elections are scheduled to take place on August 23, 2023.