Citizens have been called to exercise peace and unity in the run-up to the 2023 harmonised elections.
This came out during International Day of Peace Commemorations organised by the Zimbabwe Christian Alliance (ZCA) at Brethren in Christ Church in Lobengula, Thursday.
The day is celebrated annually on September 21 and this year’s theme is “End Racism, Build Peace.”
The event was attended by religious leaders, political parties, youths and members of various churches.
Speaking at the ceremony , National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) chairperson Rtd Justice Selo Nare implored political parties to exercise peace in order for people to effectively exercise their electoral rights.
“This year’s celebrations come at a time when the country is headed towards the 2023 harmonised elections. I implore all parties to engage in peaceful conduct as we exercise our electoral rights,” Justice Nare said.
“Our theme this year is a reminder that we can build peaceful and united communities which shun intolerance, discrimination and other differences.”
Youth representatives who attended the ceremony, urged political parties to desist from inciting violence during elections.
“It is very disheartening that it is you our elders who encourage us to fight one another especially during the time of elections. What lessons are you giving us? Do you want us to grow up believing that those who have political views different from ours do not deserve our love? We are surely headed for disaster,” a youth noted.
“Do not take advantage of the poverty that is affecting us. Teach us love instead of violence and hate. We should not be fighting one another. What are we going to teach the generation that will come after ours?”
Minister of State for Bulawayo Metropolitan Province Judith Ncube, who was the guest of honour at the ceremony pointed out several aspects that have been sources of conflict, thereby disturbing peace among communities.
“There have been reports of Vuzu parties especially here in Bulawayo. Children lie to their parents and turn against them so that they can go to these parties. There they get to abuse alcohol and drugs and when they return home there is chaos,” Min Ncube
“In some instances parents become too harsh on their children, especially girls. There have been instances where parents chase their daughters away from home because they’d have seen them with boys. These families where they chase their children to will not love them neither will they give them peace. All these are sources of conflict.”
Min Ncube urged parents to stand firm in prayer so that the environment in which children grow up is peaceful.