MR MB GWALA MPL, IFP NATIONAL CHAIRPERSON
Free fair, and peaceful elections is not hinged on just one person or political party alone working to ensure peace but on a group of individuals and all the stake-holding mass with one goal of working to ensure a peaceful process before, during and after the elections. It will take the collective effort and activity of an evil minority group or individual to mess up the fine process because of the ulterior and selfish motives they have.
In ensuring a peaceful and successful election, the behaviour of politicians and party members is crucial. Candidates announcing themselves winners before the official announcement by the IEC can be a dangerous path to take and a recipe for serious chaos. The election campaign should be free of violence, deepen the spirit of tolerance.
Leaders in government have to conduct themselves in a responsible manner rather than to be seen to be instigating violence. Leaders should not be the cause of disruptions which lead to violence. They must stop masquerading as government officials while they instigate violence among the voters. Their attitude must also change if we want peace during elections. We must be worried over wolves in sheep skin. So, let us not allow those leaders with chicken wisdom to take us backwards.
During the campaign period you will be provoked by detractors and even by fellow comrades but the spirit of tolerance must be within you. This is the message that must be driven home by leaders of all political parties. The onus is therefore on all leaders of political parties to ensure their members do not engage in violence. Let us spread the same message of peace to our communities. We need a peaceful political atmosphere before, during and after the election.
It should be the battle of the minds as different political parties try to woo voters as opposed to engaging in violence. It is only through the message of peace that will minimize the tension that characterizes elections in the country. This is not the first time that we are having an election, but this one is a crucial one.
We should take our utterances very serious and be mindful that they will not cause any public uproar or tension in the country. Any leader who will stand anywhere and, on any platform, should be decorous. They should not try to instigate and instruct their members to ferment any trouble in the country. Let every stakeholder involved in the elections play a positive role to bring about a peaceful environment during the time of canvassing for votes and after the announcement of elections results.
The IFP further calls on South Africans to respect the freedom of opinion and movement, to prevent incidents of violence witnessed in political campaigns. If one has a difference with a political aspirant or does not like them, let them take the frustration to the ballot during 2019 General Elections rather than stoning and disrupting rallies. Your weapon is your vote.
The IFP reaffirms its commitment to political tolerance, peaceful co-existence with other parties, as well as free political activity throughout our country.
I thank you