President to meet leaders of political parties ‘soon’

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By Xinhua

PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa said Friday he will engage leaders of political parties soon to ask them to commit to a violence-free campaign ahead of the July 30 general election.

Addressing thousands of Zanu PF supporters in Masvingo Province, Mnangagwa said the long planned meeting had been delayed as he awaited confirmation of political parties that will participate in the upcoming election.

The number of political parties will be confirmed when the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) publishes the final list of parties and candidates who successfully filed their nomination papers at the nomination courts which sat on Thursday.

A total of 23 candidates, including Mnangagwa and his main challenger Nelson Chamisa of the opposition MDC Alliance filed their papers to contest the Presidency.

“Now that the nomination is done I will meet with them, they must commit themselves to peaceful campaigns, non-violent campaigns, no violence, we want a mature political campaign,” he said.

“In Zanu PF we have humility, we have respect, but our respect and warmness should not be regarded as a weakness,” he said.

He consoled Zanu PF members who lost in the party primary elections, saying they should embrace the winning candidates and work together to strengthen the party.

Mnangagwa said the party was already preparing for the next five years, highlighting some key areas of focus including job creation, fighting corruption and creating a modern and affordable primary health care system.

The July 30 election will pit the ruling party against several contenders but mainly the opposition MDC Alliance led by Chamisa.

Mnangagwa has committed to deliver a free and fair vote which will be observed by Western observers for the first time since 2002.