CHAKA – Churches in conjuction with civic society organisations have taken the fight against political violence to the rural communities as Zimbabwe braces for the make-or-break general election scheduled for month-end.
The Churches and Civic Society Forum, an initiative between churches and civic society organisations to preach the gospel of peace, held a peace-building workshop in Chaka on Saturday where the main presenter Ishmael Mazambani denounced political violence, saying it mostly affected the supporters than it did the aspiring candidates.
“We have a responsibility as individuals, religious leaders, political leaders, members of political parties, traditional leaders and peace-loving Zimbabweans of creating peace and safeguarding it,” Mazambani said, adding that, “the search for peace cannot be postponed, be belittled or trivialised at a time when our nation is at the crossroads”.
A lecturer at Midlands State University, Mazambani said: “This humble contribution is an attempt to appeal to all Zimbabweans to contribute, no matter how small, in creating lasting peace for us and our children.
“It is an attempt not to open old wounds or to hunt for perpetrators of violence in the past,” Mazambani said.
ZimRights assistant networking, research and advocacy officer Makario Chinongwa said it was imperative that the electorate ensured the peace message cascaded to everyone in the different communities so that there would not be a repeat of the 2008 bloody presidential runoff election.
“This message of peace should be seen making change in communities. We must make sure that we have minimal violence during the upcoming elections,” Chinongwa said.
The Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights was represented by Calvin Fambirai, whose organisation assists victims of political violence get treatment for free.
Representatives from both Zanu PF and MDC-T were in attendance.