HZT launches national peace initiative

HZT advocacy officer Tapiwanashe Chiriga

CIVIC society organisation, Heal Zimbabwe Trust (HZT) has launched a national peace initiative to encourage dialogue among villagers from different political parties ahead of this year’s polls

The HZT peace initiative is being implemented under the traditional nhimbe concept, under the theme As One.  The initiative was launched over the weekend in Zaka, one of the country’s political hotbeds.

Villagers thronged the home of a local headman in ward 7 where political opponents openly interacted and discussed several issues pertaining to elections, while working in the fields.

Speaking during the launch, HZT advocacy officer Tapiwanashe Chiriga said the initiative hopes to create harmony in communities.

“Nhimbe is an indigenous traditional practice where community members come together to work towards a common goal.  In the process of working together, individuals build relationships – they share experiences and develop a sense of family and community. Societal conflicts, tensions and problems are diffused, and some conflicts are resolved as people participate in nhimbe activities,” Chiriga said.

HZT programmes manager, Edknowledge Mandikwaza said the peace programme will be implemented across the country.

“This national peace campaign is meant to galvanise Zimbabwean citizens to promote peace and social cohesion as we go towards national elections. It’s traditionally known that violence ranks high as we go to an election because of high political polarisation and lack of tolerance. Democracy doesn’t reign where there is conflict but it reigns where there is peace. So, we want Zimbabweans to remember and recognise that they are one people, they are living in one Zimbabwe, and that is why we say together as one, we can make Zimbabwe proud and great again,” he said.

Zaka ward 7 councillor, Peter Imbayarwo said the peace initiative will help foster political tolerance in the area, and other parts of the country.

“We have witnessed political violence in the area in the past. Homes have been destroyed and human life has been lost because of political disagreements. We hope this initiative will help to bring peace and harmony, not only in Zaka, but across all the corners of the country,” he said.

Zimbabwe has experienced bloody elections in the past, with several people in rural areas and cities being killed or maimed.

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