As part of efforts to build peaceful communities, a Community Peace Club (CPC) established by communities working with Heal Zimbabwe in Zaka ward 19 has made strides in addressing political polarisation which continues to derail social cohesion in the area.
As part of a multi-sector stakeholder engagement, the CPC has engaged the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) Provincial Peace committee in Masvingo in a bid to resolve local conflicts. The role of Provincial Peace committees is to contribute towards the promotion of peace through dialogue, mediation and conciliation of disputes among communities, individuals and groups. Peace Committees also implement programs necessary for the prevention of conflicts that are within the mandate of the NPRC.In terms of Section 252 of the constitution, the NPRC is mandated to ensure post conflict justice, healing and reconciliation.
Among conflict issues that were submitted during the engagement meeting include political polarisation that manifests itself in the form of partisan distribution of food aid. Political polarisation was flagged out during a conflict mapping exercise as one of the major conflicts in the area. The Provincial Peace Committee noted the concerns by the CPC and highlighted that it was going to submit the report to the NPRC Harare national office. As part of way forwad, the Provincial Peace Committee also highlighted that as part of bottom-up approaches to peace building, it was open to conduct collaborative meetings with the CPC.
More recently, the CPC has been raising awareness on the right to food and on the need to depoliticise food aid distribution .They did this through convening collaborative neutral platforms and community dialogues. By the end of December 2021, a total of 650 people had participated in nhimbes and dialogues where communities shared collective strategies that can be adopted to depoliticise food aid distribution. A total of 72 Community leaders (mostly traditional leaders and Councillors) attended the meetings.
The meetings by Heal Zimbabwe are part of efforts to empower local communities to help safeguard against human rights abuse and also help build peaceful communities. Heal Zimbabwe utilizes various strategies to address conflicts in local communities. One of these ways is the use of community dialogues, an initiative for communities to discuss and collectively identify ways through which they can proffer solutions to problems in their communities. Such platforms also facilitate local level conversations on pertinent issues affecting communities as well as create socially cohesive communities.
Source: Heal Zimbabwe