A Community Peace Club (CPC) established by communities working with Heal Zimbabwe in Zaka has made strides in ending partisan distribution of food aid and farming inputs. This was after the realisation that political labeling and polarization has remained the biggest threat to social cohesion in communities as local politicians use aid as a weapon to settle political battles.
As part of efforts to end this practice, the CPC organised a community dialogue on 4 February 2022 where community leaders and local duty bearers collectively discussed ways that can help address the conflict issue. Participants noted that unfair distribution of inputs and food aid was a serious cause for concern, thereby causing a lot of conflicts within the communities.”Efforts to build peace in our community are being derailed by rampant cases of partisan distribution of aid and inputs. This has created serious conflicts within our communities”, said one participant. As part of feedback to the community on this issue, the CPC reported that it has submitted a petition to the District Coordinators office and engaged the local Councillor. The petition details cases where aid and inputs were distributed in a partisan manner.
Added to this, the CPC has also embarked on an awareness raising initiative where they are conscientising the community on their fundamental human rights and freedoms as enshrined in the Bill of Rights such as the right to Equality and Non-Discrimination. The CPC has also been mobilizing community members to register to vote.However, community members also gave feedback to the effect that voter registration process in Zaka was cumbersome as the local Zimbabwe Electoral Commission registration centre only serves nine people per day.
The meetings by Heal Zimbabwe are part of efforts to create dialogues among citizens as this helps to 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