MUREWA – Hundreds of villagers in Murewa braved the heat last week to converge for a day of peace celebrations at the rural hub organised by Centre for Community Development Zimbabwe, CCDZ.
Local leadership across the political divide was present at the gathering giving it much credence.
Ernest Mudzengi, CCDZ board chairperson said his organisation seeks to promote development at grassroots level.
Zimbabwe faced political disturbances during election periods between 2000 and 2008. Mudzengi said the electoral situation then was marred with violence.
A change was seen in the last July 31, 2013 elections when the country held relatively peaceful elections.
Mudzengi said: “You also realise the conditions under which the July 31 elections were held were relatively peaceful. We did not have many problems in terms of people being displaced and maimed. There could be other problems that characterised the electoral process, but we can build on the peace that prevailed such that Zimbabwe can be a peaceful country.”
CCDZ is penetrating rural areas with the theme of development. “We are coming to people with a theme relating to development. We spearheaded self-help projects, people want development. Zimbabweans have come of age; you go to Bikita West people voted for Munyaradzi Kereke because he brought them some developmental projects.”
Mudzengi said NGOs must develop a new working relationship with authorities. “I think we should cultivate on the relationship we have with local authorities and build on that. If we manage to have more of these platforms we will create a new culture in Zimbabwe, a culture of coming together and a culture of people contesting in a peaceful manner.”
Headman Innocent Muzondiwa Mangwende Zihute welcomed the celebration of peace in his area.
The International Day of Peace was celebrated on September 21 the world over. CCDZ celebrated the day belatedly on September 24.
Headman Zihute said peace cannot prevail when people are hungry or when they are living under harsh conditions. “Peace is about living well in the communities without hunger or other challenges. CCDZ is bringing self-help projects in our area and that can ensure peace. When there is hunger there is no peace.”
The headman said sometimes people engaged in conflict behaviour without knowing, so they needed to be taught. Assistant District Administrator, Phyllis Banhwa said CCDZ was fostering peace in Murewa through self-help projects.
She said conflict can arise when people do not have any gainful activities to embark on.
“When people are busy they focus less on conflict.’’ and all over. Lack of food and poor infrastructure causes conflict.”