Switzerland welcomes political parties' commitment to prevent electoral violence

Press release, 27.06.2018

HARARE, 26.06.2018 - At an official ceremony in Harare this Tuesday, Zimbabwe’s political parties committed to respect a Code of Conduct for the first elections following the departure of former President Mugabe.

Switzerland welcomes political parties' commitment to prevent electoral violence.
Switzerland welcomes political parties' commitment to prevent electoral violence © Embassy of Switzerland in Zimbabwe.

Switzerland congratulates all political leaders on this key contribution to the prevention of violence and fraud, and calls on them to fully meet their commitments. At the request of the political parties, the FDFA provided advice during the negotiations on the drafting of the Code of Conduct and will continue its support to help widely communicate the Code, monitor its implementation and resolve disputes peacefully until the elections, which are scheduled to take place on 30 July 2018.

In a climate marked by the recent attack at a campaign rally, the Zimbabwean political parties have reaffirmed their responsibilities with regard to the holding of free elections during this transition period. They have announced their commitment to prevent acts of violence, fraud and intimidation, as well as a range of offences that marred previous electoral processes.

The ceremony, which took place under the aegis of the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) and the Zimbabwe Institute, will be followed up with a communication campaign. The signatory parties also plan to set up multi-party committees to settle disputes and have agreed to impose internal sanctions and make public statements dissociating themselves from candidates, members, supporters or organisations that do not respect these commitments. The political parties’ Code of Conduct has been integrated into electoral law, which will also enable the authorities to sanction violations.

At the request of the political parties and national institutions involved, the Human Security Division of the FDFA has provided technical expertise and support during the negotiations on drafting the Code of Conduct since 2017. It also invited Zimbabwean political leaders and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to Geneva in Spring 2018 to meet experts, diplomats and mediators with a view to assist them in developing strategies on preventing violence in the context of elections.

In this final stage of the electoral process, it will continue to support efforts to ensure adherence to the Code of Conduct and will second three observers to the European Union Election Observation Mission to Zimbabwe. These steps have been taken as part of the mandate of the FDFA to promote civilian peacebuilding, human rights and democracy, which Switzerland has been implementing in Zimbabwe since 2014.