The Makokoba Local Peace Committee (LPC) on Thursday held a peace march for different political parties to encourage them to participate in electoral processes peacefully ahead of the 2023 harmonized elections.
The committee which comprises community leaders, local church leaders, political party representatives, Zimbabwe Republic Police, residents’ association representatives, and community members was formed in 2018 under the Churches Convergence on Peace and Conflict Consortium.
The peace march was attended by ward 7 Councilor Shadreck Sibanda, ZANU PF members, Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC), ZAPU, and National Patriotic Front (NPF).
Addressing the gathering before the march, Reverend Kevin Toni Mpofu from the Church of Christ said the coming together of different political parties will make residents understand that having different political ideologies doesn’t mean people are enemies.
“We started this journey when we started attending workshops about peace, we agreed after our training by Zimbabwe Christian Alliance that as political parties we want to have a peaceful march, that was then our work plan in Makokoba so today is the day we march per our agreement speaking about the issue of peace, encouraging residents to have peace where they stay,” said Rev. Mpofu.
He said the youth also participated in the march as they said they are the ones being used in violent activities.
“Politics is not the only thing that brings violence in the community, we will also speak about issues of drug abuse and gender-based violence, so this is our main goal today and we will be encouraging each other around those issues,” said Rev. Mpofu.
Ward 7 councillor Shadreck Sibanda encouraged other areas to hold similar initiatives.
“We are one people, you know everything starts in Makokoba, we need to demonstrate to the whole nation and they should follow suit that we are one people and we should not use violence when we don’t agree in the political lines,” said Cllr Sibanda.
Meanwhile, CCC District Organiser, Alfred Murozvi said they want peace as the nation prepares for elections.
“We came together as political parties but peace starts with me and you, we should elect those we want peacefully, competition doesn’t need violence, we want sportsmanship because politics come and go but we are the residents of Makokoba,” said Murozvi.
ZANU PF political commissar, Mishek Magombedzi Gumbo said political parties don’t want to be used as instruments of violence.
“We say no to violence, we don’t want violence in this ward as it starts in the ward and goes to constituency up to the national level,” said Gumbo.
“We want to say to the electorate, sell your ides to the people peacefully, don’t beat up the people,” he said.
In addition, NPF provincial commissar, Andifasi Bhanda said it will be beautiful to see different political parties working together.
“We are asking for peace as we are going to the 2023 elections, politics is not our life only but we live together as residents and we need each other’s assistance,” said Bhanda.
ZAPU National Secretary, Andrew Ndlovu said violence should not be tolerated as it is a violation of one’s constitutional right.
“Each Zimbabwean is supposed to be given that freedom and vote for their party of choice, there is political right where an individual citizen has the right to choose the political party of his or her choice,” said Ndlovu.
He said the law enforcers should also respect different political parties and treat them the same.
“Freedom, human rights, and the rule of law should all be respected,” said Ndlovu.