POLAD lines up peace rallies

The Political Actors Dialogue (POLAD) is planning to hold peace rallies and conferences across the country, as part of efforts to build a conducive environment and facilitate healing for victims of violence.

POLAD is a grouping of ZANU-PF and other political parties that contested the 2018 polls, save for the MDC, engaged in talks ostensibly to resolve the country’s political and economic crisis.

The grouping hopes these peace rallies and meetings will pave way for peaceful 2023 elections.

Responding to questions from CITE, chairperson of POLAD’s National Healing and Nation Building subcommittee, Lucia Matibenga said there was a lot of pain in the country, which can be traced back to historical grievances.    

“As POLAD we realise a lot of the hurting and hating is historical, in as much as we current issues. We called in the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NRPC) of all the presenters, they were given a lot of time and I am satisfied that as POLAD we appreciated the work the commission is doing,” she said.

Matibenga who leads the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), said her focus in POLAD was peacebuilding.

“This is deliberate in that we want to avoid duplication with NPRC, but collaborating where we can come in with our programmes. We are also seeing this peacebuilding as a build-up to building a conducive environment for peaceful elections,” she noted.

Nowadays, social media has emerged as platform where a lot of abuse and violence takes place online, with concerns arising that some of the hate through inflammatory language is perpetuated by government-sponsored machinery called the ‘varakashi.’

In response to that, Matibenga said, “when a person is on social media, usually they are a political player and we are we are some of the political players here, using our young people as twitter warriors or media warriors.”

She expressed regret that is was amazing and shocking how young people partook in a violent online campaign.

“Young people print unprintable words that shock some of us from the old order. We are going to address this by our peace rallies, peace roadshows in the provinces. We are going to have youth and women conventions on peace meeting and conferences in the various provinces so that people began to talk about Ubuntu values,” Matibenga said.

“We hope that from these initiatives people know what they are supposed to say peacefully and know what is taboo, what has to be said specifically on social media. We really need to go back to the basis of saying we can differ but cannot say he or she who differs with me is an enemy.”

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