Elections are imperative to an efficiently functioning democracy as they make a fundamental contribution to democratic governance. In Zimbabwe, elections are held in terms of Section 67 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No 20) of 2013 (hereinafter referred to as the Constitution) which provides for Political Rights that every Zimbabwean should exercise and enjoy. The Constitution of Zimbabwe, Section 67(2)(b) and (c) emphasises that electoral processes should be conducted in a peaceful manner. The Constitution of Zimbabwe, Sections 155 (a) and (d) further provides for regular peaceful and fair elections which are free from violence and other electoral malpractices. It is the State’s obligation therefore to ensure that appropriate legislative and administrative measures have been put in place to curb electoral violence and other electoral malpractices.

Various stakeholders have a role in ensuring peace and violent free elections, not least of which include political parties, candidates, Chapter 12 Institutions, voters, civic society and other government institutions. The National Peace and Reconciliation Commission is mandated to ensure peace, unity, reconciliation and the development of preventative actions to ameliorate conflicts before they occur or to mediate and conciliate in the event that prevention has not been successful. This feeds into the NPRC’s Mission to “Unite Zimbabweans for sustainable peace by developing mechanism to peacefully resolve violent conflicts of the past and institutionalize approaches for preventing their recurrence in the present and future” with a Vision of “A peaceful Zimbabwe for all generations”.
In view of the fact that His Excellency the President of Zimbabwe made proclamations on the 24th of December, 2021 on the date of the by-elections as the 26th of March, 2022 and that the nation is geared towards the 2023 harmonized elections, the Commission has come up with a plan of action which will inform its conflict preventative responses so that conflicts and disputes are avoided. The impending by-elections provide the Commission with the opportunity to test its capacities for election conflict prevention and peace monitoring before the 2023 harmonised elections. Gaps identified in human and material capacities will help strengthen efforts to refine and realign strategies so that the nation enjoys peace and unity by creating a framework and building structures and systems that curtail conflict and violence before, during and after elections.

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