In a development that is likely to resolve human-wildlife conflicts, a Community Peace Club (CPC) established by communities working with Heal Zimbabwe has set up a local taskforce committee to oversee and deal with the increasing cases of human-wildlife conflicts In Buhera.
The committee was elected during a social cohesion dialogue that was conducted in Buhera ward 33 on 6 February 2023.The objective of the dialogue meeting was to allow the community to proffer lasting solutions to human and wildlife conflicts that were on the rise in the community because of the proximity to Save conservancy. The meeting also sought to put in place a mechanism for engaging local leaders on the need to acquire a Community Areas Management Programme for Indigenous Resources (CAMPFIRE) status, speed up the process of resolving Devuli Game Park ownership conflicts, electrify the game park, and move a motion in parliament on the need to review laws regarding compensation of community members who have lost their livestock and crops to stray animals. Resolving these conflicts will help reduce the political labeling and conflicts ahead of the 2023 general elections. The meeting was attended by 50 people including the ward Councillor, Village Development Committees (VIDCOs) members, Ward Development Committees (WADCOs) and several Village heads.
Participants welcomed the setting up the task force and underscored the need for committee to conduct regular feedback meetings to the community.”Human and wildlife conflicts are on the increase hence we welcome the setting up of this committee. We hope that the committee will keep the community updated and conduct regular feedback meetings”, said a participant. The Committee is comprised of 10 people namely councillors from two wards, Village heads and VIDCO members. Among many other tasks, the committee will document and compile reports of its engagement with Buhera Rural District Council (RDC), National Parks and Game Park owners. These reports will be used for lobbying and advocacy purposes as well as engage stakeholders such as Honourable Joseph Chinotimba.The Committee will also engage six VIDCOs in ward 33 to document their experiences with stray wild animals from Devuli range.
Other issues that came out during the dialogue meeting include issues of low voter registration by community members owing to centralized Zimbabwe Electoral Commission voter registration centres at Murambinda Business Centre. Participants also reported that ZEC has since set up a registration centre at Birchenough Primary School to ease congestion at Murambinda Business centre.
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