Peace Clubs promote culture of peace, tolerance (Zimbabwe)

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(Original article: crisiszimbabwe.org, Nov. 13, 2015)

In an effort to address issues of political violence and promote a culture of tolerance, villagers from Buhera West have united to focus on fostering unity in their area.

The villagers from Manjengwa Village in Buhera West Ward 5 have united under Peace Clubs, an initiative by Heal Zimbabwe Trust (HZT) meant to encourage peace, unity and tolerance.

During a community outreach programme held by Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CIZC) on November 10, 2015, the villagers confirmed that cases of political violence had reduced although there were isolated cases of intimidation and partisan distribution of food aid.

In separate interviews with the Crisis Report, interviewees confirmed that the Peace Clubs had united people towards a common purpose of unity and development.

“The Peace Clubs have assisted a lot in ending political violence in our area especially among the youths. Previously, they were the major perpetrators of violence but because of these platforms (Peace Clubs) we have time to discuss about issues of peace and how maintaining a peaceful environment would help in bringing peace and development in our area,” said Alouisia Mazadza.

Another interviewee, Dadirai Tsamombe said the Peace Clubs had also assisted in promoting community development projects that bring people together regardless of political affiliation.

“Previously, people were divided along political lines but because of these Peace Clubs, there has been a sense of unity among communities and we are even doing farming projects that have brought together people from different political affiliations.

“We are optimistic that this will assist in reducing cases of politically motivated violence especially during election periods,” she said.

The villagers who form the Peace Clubs meet once every week to discuss issues affecting their communities and map ways through which theses can be resolved.

This, according to another interviewee, Charles Matsinde has provided the much needed platform for people to openly discuss issues such as violence and intimidation in an open and amicable manner.

“I am especially impressed by the response from the youths who have shown an interest in joining the Peace Clubs. This is encouraging because youths are mostly manipulated to engage in political violence but because of these platforms, we have managed to educate them on the importance of maintaining peace and tolerance,” said Matsinde.

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