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» » » Churches call for tolerance, justice for peace to prevail

…deploy peace ambassadors in communities

Tinaani Nyabereka

GWERU – Some faith-based organisations have urged people and political players to uphold tolerance and forgiveness for peace and reconciliation to prevail in the country.
Speaking at the Churches Convergence on Peace Conference (CCOP) recently hosted by the Zimbabwe Christian Alliance (ZCA) in partnership with Zimbabwe Divine Destiny (ZDD), Bishop Ancelimo Magaya said if leaders were told the truth, they would sit down and dialogue.
“We must come to truth telling, we must know what triggered the conflict which led to most of the violent encounters we experienced. We must understand who ordered people to be killed, shops to be destroyed and looted, no one has answered such questions.
“Unless we get to know some of these answers we will never taste peace in our nation as a people. When God launched his redemption programme, he had noticed a lot on the human mind so we need to dig up the truth. Another issue is of justice which should be applied fairly and universally. If justice is executed, peace and tolerance will be embraced. Let this be known to everyone including our leaders despite which political party one belongs,” said Magaya.
There have been many but so far futile calls for President Emmerson Mnangagwa and MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa – the main political protagonists in the country – to sit down and find common ground on how to tackle the country’s debilitating political and economic crises.
ZCA director Useni Sibanda said the church was the pivot of peace initiatives starting at ward level.
“We realised that the church has a pivotal role to play. Capacitating pastors will help in the peace-building process in our communities and country as this can even start at community level.
“Most of the peace ambassadors originated from such capacity-building programmes and as churches, we will continue to work with political parties so that people understand the importance of peace in our environment. We need to work on various strategies to continue with our drive for unity and reconciliation,” said Sibanda.
Mashonaland Central CCOP representative, Pastor Maxwell Jiri said teamwork was essential in engaging both the victims and the perpetrators of violence.
“As a province, we dealt with a lot of issues regarding the issues of conflict and violence. We did it as a team because we believed in combined efforts and we managed to cover many districts. As you know, we are also affected a by the issue of Mashurugwi; the machetes gangs who are causing a lot of unrest and attacking people in informal mining communities,” said Jiri.
He said they were also working to find ways to prevent cholera outbreaks now that the country is very close to the rainy season.
“We also worked on the issue of politicisation of food aid; a practice which has affected the welfare of many people in the area. I am glad we managed to solve some of the issues,” Jiri said. 
The event ran under the theme, “Building a Peaceful Zimbabwe for the Present and All Future Generations’.                                                                                                                 

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