In a bid to ensure that peace prevails ahead of the 2023 elections, a Community Peace Club (CPC) established by communities working in Zaka District has embarked on a campaign to help the community uphold peace and tolerance. This came out during a National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) awareness raising meeting in Zaka organised by the CPC on 16 May 2022.
The objectives of the meeting were to conscientize communities on the work of the NPRC and create referral pathways for the community to submit reports to the commission. The NPRC is one of the Independent Commissions supporting democracy established under Chapter 12 of the constitution with the mandate of ensuring post conflict justice, healing and reconciliation. The meeting was attended by several Traditional leaders and 50 Community members. The meeting was also attended by NPRC Provincial Committee member for Masvingo Province, Joyce Mhungu.
Participants noted that reluctance by the NPRC to address key reconciliation issues such as the 2008 elections left them with no option but to rally the community for peaceful co-existence ahead of the 2023 plebiscite.”Over the years, through the facilitation of Heal Zimbabwe we have participated in consultative meetings conducted by the NPRC and we clearly spelt out clearly how we wanted the 2008 violence addressed. To date, no engagement with perpetrators and survivors of such violence has been done. This leaves us with no option but to play a role within our community to build peace ahead of the elections. We are on our own, the NPRC has failed to fulfill its mandate”, said one participant. Other issues that came out during the meeting include challenges associated with accessing documents such as birth certificates and Identify documents. Participants noted that while it was commendable for the Civil Registry Department to embark on a blitz, some conditions for communities to access documents remained restrictive.
Community members welcomed the gesture by Heal Zimbabwe of bringing the NPRC to the community as it strengthens bottom-up approaches to peace building. The meeting further resolved that there was need for the community to continue submitting reports to the Commission for redress.
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