The European Union (EU) has called for various groups in the country which include the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, the police and the traditional leaders such as chiefs to remain apolitical regarding the 2018 harmonised elections. Speaking on a local radio station, Ambassador Philippe Van Damme, the European Union head of delegation for Zimbabwe called on these groups to make public statements saying that they will respect the constitution.
Said Van Damme,
It’s not only the voters’ roll that helps with confidence building, a small example, which may be provocative and I am doing this on purpose, we have heard this call for peaceful elections as well as the impartiality of various actors in the process like civil servants and traditional leaders.
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I would like to see, as an observer, that all major stakeholders, whether they are the political leaders, traditional leaders, the security forces and churches that they all stand up and make a formal plea for peaceful elections.
And that those who have in the past been accused of not being neutral, where they were supposed to be neutral, that they stand up and make a formal public plea to all the others that they will respect their constitutional obligations.
It is a responsibility of the leadership in its different dimensions to stand up and make sure that things trickle down to the basics (grassroots).
Chiefs have made several statements in the past endorsing Zanu-PF and former president Robert Mugabe as well as current president Emmerson Mnangagwa. The ZDF commanders have also in the past publicly declared that they would not support anyone without liberation war credentials.