The document was given to President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and DPM Arthur Mutambara early this year. They in turn gave JOMIC the green light to conduct outreach exercises to gather the views of their supporters countrywide - thus indicating their support for the initiative.
The voluntary Code of Conduct’s objective is to minimise political conflict, eradicate intimidation and encourage a climate in which free and fair campaigning can take place.
Article VI of the document tasks every political party to issue directives expressly forbidding all officials, candidates, members, proxies and supporters from intimidating opponents or using violence. The same section also orders leaders of political parties to warn their members against carrying weapons during campaign rallies or demonstrations.
But Zanu (PF)’s provincial secretary general, Francis Chikwira, said his party did not agree with sections of the code. “We can only endorse it when wholesome amendments have been made. There are so many things that need to be changed in the document,” said Chikwira during an inter-party meeting held by JOMIC in the city last week.
A sources inside Zanu (PF) said Chikwira’s declaration was representative of party hardliners in the province led by Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa. “There are people inside Zanu (PF) who cannot face the nation or apologise for violence because that is their culture. They are not prepared to be held accountable for undesirable activities,” he said.
Midlands chairperson for MDC-T, Lilian Timvious, and his MDC-N counterpart Ndumo Moyo, both said their parties accepted the code and were ready to endorse it because it aimed at fostering a spirit of goodwill and peace.