12 Jul 2013 11:19

CHIWESHE, July 12 (Bernama) - President Robert Mugabe on Thursday reiterated calls for peaceful elections and urged supporters of ruling Zimbabwe African National Unionâ€"Patriotic Front (ZANUâ€"PF) to desist from perpetrating violence.

Zimbabwe will hold elections on July 31 to end the five year-old coalition government, Zimbabwean news agency New Ziana reported.

Addressing thousands of Zanu PF supporters at a rally at Nzvimbo Growth Point in Chiweshe, Mashonaland Central province, Mugabe called on supporters not to retaliate "if other political parties initiate violence."

"Let us not fight. Even now the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) will initiate violence so that the election will be discredited. We want peaceful elections," he said.

Mugabe said peace must characterise all Zanu PF campaigns to be held countrywide during run-up to the elections.

"We are appealing for peace, peace everywhere for violence not to characterise our gatherings, our rallies or even our immediate environment. And that is the theme that accompanies other themes that have to do with the policies of my party," he said.

On Sunday, MDC youth assembly chairperson Solomon Madzore told a rally that the party supporters were "prepared to shed blood" during the run-up to the elections.

Political parties in Zimbabwe have combined in an apparent bid to unseat Zanu PF after several surveys predicted the party led by Mugabe will win in the coming elections.