By Ron Murevererwi – Ngativakei Runyararo, Runyararo idonzvo redu tose!(Lets build peace, Peace is our collective goal, responsibility)
The people of Zimuto district yesterday around mid day at Zimuto business centre, made a bold solidarity message pledging their undying commitment to jealously watch those sent to instruct people to assume violent actions against members of their community and resist them.
The pledge was made during the commemoration of the International Peace Day organized by Victims Action Committee, a member of the ROHR Zimbabwe led consortium on peace building comprising four organizations.
VAC Masvingo provincial chairman, also a resident community member and master of ceremony Farai Chinobva, said that Zimuto was one of the first places in which violence broke during the 2008 orgy of violence. He further highlighted the lessons the community had learnt, noting that most of the people who masterminded or brought instructions to order villagers of Zimuto to carry out heinous acts against each other were people who came from outside.
It was unanimously agreed that having been the first to experience violence and its ravaging effects, the people of Zimuto will be the first to end violence and resist instructors of violence to break the cycle of violence. All the attendants pledged to repossess the keys to the gates of Zimuto to be watchful, accountable and responsible about who they let in the community and what message they bring to the people. This comes after disturbing reports of a campaign by a notorious gang leader of war veterans Jabulani Sibanda who is reported to be on a tour in the Masvingo province to stir acts of political violence, intimidation and other politically motivated criminal activities.
“Peace building is one of the major significant priorities which must be assumed by the coalition government to bring transformational change to improve the lives of the people and ensure long lasting peace, particularly during contested times like on the holding of
elections” said Fortune Muchuchuti, director of VAC.
Clifford Hlatywayo reiterated the chain of responsibility stressing that peace is a deliberate effort that begins with the individual before going to the family, community and nation as a whole. A victim from the 2008 election violence, John Mashakada gave a testimonial about his experience before encouraging the gathering to be part of the peace effort. Solidarity messages were made by attending representatives from ZimRights, ZINASU, prominent local human rights lawyer, resident councilors. The meeting was attended by traditional leaders, church leaders, youths, women, men, artist and children.
The peace commemoration is part of ongoing efforts by a consortium of four organizations, Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace in Zimbabwe (CCJPZ), Centre for Community Development in Zimbabwe (CCDZ), Victims Action Committee (VAC) and Restoration of Human Rights Zimbabwe (ROHR) working towards building peace during the critical time of transformation in the history of the country. The project aims to build capacities, skills and encourage community members and leaders to deliberately be conscious and make purposeful efforts to contribute to the building and sustenance of peace.
Wonder Dangarembizi, the VAC national chairman who comes from the hotly contested Uzumba Marambapfungwe thanked the residents of Zimuto for their spirited courageous decision to be the difference, committing to end intra community violence.