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Rural community efforts towards nation building
April 15, 2011
in collaboration with traditional leaders in Zaka carried 40 traditional
weeding ceremonies (nhimbes) in the month of March and April 2011
with a niche to revisit and restrengthen community relations and
cultures which had been eroded by years of political strife. Hundreds
of people of various political persuasions participated in the rituals
which were held in batches of ten per week. The activities were
spearheaded by traditional Chiefs, sub chiefs and village heads.
The basis for the activities is to redefine traditional leaders
roles and responsibilities as a source of unifying the community
divided by political violence.
part of coming up with continuous peace initiatives strategies formed
peace clubs per each VIDCO or WADCO - village/ward development committees
which comprise of 50 members consisting of two village heads, four
church leaders, one sub-chief, one policeman, one traditional healer,
ten women, ten youths, five elderly and eleven men from the entire
political divide. This came after discussions were made during the
nhimbes that most cases of political violence had an involvement
of local people hence the need to come up with structures that guard
against any external influence on the local people specifically
youth who are well known for being used by political parties to
further their own interests.
The peace clubs' main objective is to mediate in community
conflicts and prevent the exploitation of local community conflicts
by politicians during times of election contestations. Various social
activities will be carried out in the peace clubs for example soccer
tournaments, burial societies, small income generating projects,
all as strategies to rebuild community relations. Heal Zimbabwe
hopes that if communities come together frequently on social platforms
that are apolitical it becomes difficult for them to turn against
each other during election periods. The programme needs to be spread
to other areas affected by political violence especially as we enter
the harvest and the winter farming season. Peace club members will
also discuss ways and strategies they can implore to uphold peace
and stability in their respective communities and immediate responses
they can implore in the event of outbreak of political violence.
Traditional leaders will capitalize on mini breaks that are done
during the nhimbe to try and rebuild torn relations and encourage
the culture of peace, tolerance and stability. The chiefs will reemphasize
the need to respect the sanctity of life irregardliness of pressure
from political leaders. It is during these meetings that people
with diverging opinions mix and mingle as a build up to rebuilding
a culture of tolerance and respect of one's views and opinions.
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