Zimbabwe's non-governmental National Constitutional Assembly called upon members of the police, army and other security forces to behave responsibly in the run-up to the elections Saturday and to accept the outcome no matter who wins.
In a statement released Tuesday which the NCA said was circulated to police, soldiers and other uniformed forces, the civil society organization urged members of security forces to disobey commanders who have publicly stated that they would not accept victory by the opposition, and to exercise their powers on behalf of the people.
"The hope and expectation of every Zimbabwean is that this election will herald the beginning of a life of dignity and quality," the NCA statement said. "The political elite is hopeful that you will protect their positions and maintain the status quo. The people of Zimbabwe are hopeful that you will support their yearning for change."
The NCA said the security forces are key to the balance of power, and could "ensure an environment that is conducive for the reconstruction of Zimbabwe."
"Show your support and allegiance to the people of Zimbabwe," the statement urged. "Accept the will of the people as manifested through the electoral process, irrespective of the outcome. Refuse to be party to any form of vote-rigging and underhand attempts at manipulating the results of the forthcoming election."
National Constitutional Assembly Coordinator Tapera Kapuya told reporter Patience Rusere that the uniformed forces should protect the political elite.