THE National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) yesterday developed a peace pledge which is expected to be signed on Tuesday by different political parties contesting in the 2018 elections as their commitment to promoting peaceful elections.
BY VENERANDA LANGA
NPRC chairperson, retired Justice Selo Masole Nare said the peace pledge will be a preventive and peace-building mechanism to ensure political parties adhered to a peaceful electoral environment.
He said it was not mandatory for political parties to assent to it, although it would be wise to sign it in order to protect their supporters from a recurrence of past electoral violence.
“Peaceful elections are a key ingredient for long term peace and development in the country and the NPRC has a key role to play in contributing towards this goal,” Nare said.
“The commission has plans to bring together political leaders contesting in the elections to make a public commitment to peace by signing a peace pledge, which will be a demonstration of the political parties’ commitment to seeking peaceful redress of possible disputes during and after elections as provided for in the constitution and the electoral laws of the country.”
He said the signing of the pledge will be a demonstration of the political parties’ commitment to seeking a peaceful redress of possible disputes arising before, during and after elections.
“Towards this end, the NPRC has developed an integrated election strategy which is built on the foundations of the commission’s constitutional mandate and it’s committed to leverage on the competencies, expertise and experiences of ongoing peace building initiatives and collaboratively mobilise for peace during this electoral period,” he said.
Nare said the peace pledge was in recognition of the fact that the country has in the past been characterised by episodes of conflict during elections – constraining prospects for credible and legitimate transitions.
He said the code of conduct will play an important role in setting the tone for a peaceful environment for the forthcoming plebiscite.
“It will lay down key principles that the political players, their supporters and other stakeholders should abide by,” he said.
The NPRC chairperson said most of the political players have already committed to signing the peace pledge.