Silveira House Jesuit Social Justice and Development Centre, a Catholic Church based organisation which provides a forum for discussions of strategies to counteract social and political oppression and foster national peace, is organising a multi-party interface where all the 23 presidential aspirants in the 2018 election race will have time to address the same audience at the same rendezvous.
According to the organisers, a 3000 strong audience is expected to attend the gathering and the event will take place at Arrupe Jesuit University in Mt Pleasant, Harare on Thursday, July 19.
Addressing members of the media on Tuesday, Father Fredrick Chiromba, Secretary-General of the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops Conference said the aim of high profile meeting was to inculcate a sense of multi-party democracy and the spirit of mutual respect in differing political opinions.
This, he said, will lay a firm foundation for a meaningful development in the country.
“The presence of the presidential candidates in a single space with each one of them addressing the same audience will be of actual and symbolic significance, one that will imprint itself on the political psyche of those present and those following the event through the media,” Fr Chiromba said.
“The presence of presidential candidates sitting next to each other will serve to remind citizens of the value of peaceful coexistence irrespective of political affiliation.”
He added, “We share the same aspirations of peace and prosperity for our country even if we may differ on how to be achieved.”
He said that they have already received confirmation from the majority of the Presidential candidates regarding their presence and participation in the planned event.
“It will be indeed an exciting moment for the electorate, a first for Zimbabwe,” Fr Chiromba said.
“They will also get a chance to respond to two pre-selected questions which they will be given before the event so as not to ambush them.”
Also among the press panellist was the Zimbabwe Divine Destiny (ZDD) Provincial Chairman Reverend Gathre Melusi, who on many occasions this year, has encouraged politicians to campaign harmoniously and be tolerant to diverse views.
This will be a second attempt to bring the presidential candidates under one roof after the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) tried it on the Peace Pledge signing ceremony where key contesters Mnangagwa and Chamisa sent representatives.
The first election to be conducted since the ouster of President Robert Mugabe last November has been widely described as the most peaceful since independence.
Resource: New Zimbabwe