Don’t be Intimidated-Catholic Bishops tell voters

ELLEN MLAMBO
MIRROR REPORTER

MASVINGO-The Zimbabwe Catholic Bishop’s Conference (ZCBC) has urged the electorate not to be intimidated, coerced or manipulated to vote against their will in the upcoming August 23, 2023 harmonized elections.
The powerful clergy which does not shy from speaking its mind said this at a church Bishops conference held on Wednesday last week. The workshop was attended by journalists, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) and the church’s leadership.
“Do not be intimidated, coerced or manipulated to vote against your will. Refuse to be used in violent attacks against your fellow brothers and sisters. Any party or politician that incites violence or persuades you to join in violent attacks, is not worthy of your vote. Give your vote to those who deserve it. Of the many choices that you are presented with, be discerning with the aid of the Holy Spirit and choose who you want,” reads part of the statement released after the conference.
This comes in the wake of violent encounters perpetrated by some political parties in rural areas as political hotbed Gutu district where teachers were forced to abandon their homes and sleep in bushes by a party ward chairperson.
The bishops made an appeal to politicians to distinguish themselves as noble men and women worth of people’s votes. They were also encouraged to exercise responsibly the privileges of influencing citizens.
“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. “To whom much has been given, much will be demanded.” (Luke 12:48)
“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.,” reads the statement.
Media house were encouraged to be non-partisan, factual, unbiased and to report without fear and favor.
“To the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC): to you is given the important mandate of preparing, facilitating and delivering credible, free and fair elections…Attend to the concerns that the citizens are raising and address them. Be people of absolute integrity and objectivity…
“To the members of the security sector: we appeal to you…let all the perpetrators of political violence and those who employ hate speech be held accountable for their actions and words. Be present in political rallies and ensure that all parties are cleared and given equal opportunities to reach any part of the country in their campaigns,” reads the statement.

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