The Ecumenical Peace Observation Initiative says it is happy with the response it is getting from various political party leaders that they have been engaging on peace as elections approach.

Speaking after an hour closed door meeting, Goodwill Shana chairperson of the Zimbabwe heads of Christian denominations, said the meeting with the Prime Minister is one of the meetings they have been having with political parties in the lead up to the elections.

“Most of the parties generally are eager. I think they seem to be singing from the same hymn book. We have had a very positive and encouraging response from all the political parties that we have engaged,” Shana said.

The group, which made up of the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops conference, the Evangelical fellowship of Zimbabwe and Zimbabwe Council of churches, previously met with President Robert Mugabe, and today it has met Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on the peace initiative.

Shana said they are eager to have a peaceful and credible election that does not have disputed outcome.

“We do not want a return to 2008 and therefore started a program called Ecumenical Peace Observation Initiative which seeks to observe the environment to ensure that we have a peaceful and positive election outcome.”

Under intense regional pressure, Prime Mister Tsvangirai and his bitter rival President Mugabe formed a power-sharing government in 2009 to avoid a complete meltdown in the country, whose economy had collapsed under world-record hyperinflation after a bloody presidential run-off election that left more than 200 Tsvangirai supporters dead.

On the election date which is currently dividing the parties in the inclusive government Shana said the parties should engage.

“We don’t want to appear to disparage our courts but the church has always been of the view that we have come this far by consensus, by dialogue and by engagement. It’s unfortunate if we had to resort other means of making progress when we think that we have gotten this far by dialogue. If we had had our ways perhaps that decision would have been made in other quotas maybe through engagement dialogue and consensus rather than a decree but we respect that decision,” Shana said.

President Mugabe circumvented Parliament and gazetted Statutory Instrument 85 of 2013 to proclaim the election date as July 31, 2013 setting a stage for a bruising fight with Prime Minster Tsvangirai.

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