Zimbabwe Peace Actors Platform (ZimPAP) with the assistance of Restoration of Human Rights International (ROHR) is moving ahead with peace building initiative after launching soccer tournament in Domboshava.
The community peace initiative was endorsed by traditional leaders who have for a long time been accused of siding with Zanu PF officials most of whom are fingered in political violence.
Headman Gilbert Mungate of Murape village denounced all forms of violence during the ZimPAP and ROHR soccer tournament that attracted over 500 people from Domboshava.
“I am pleased to receive you here in my village where you have come with this peace programme through a soccer tournament. Soccer is a game which unites everyone and it is my hope that is going to help the community as well as building tolerance,” said headman Mungate in a speech read on his behalf, by the local councilor Clifford Nhambure.
ZimPAP, is in the process of recruiting civilian peace keepers in all the country’s provinces and districts.
The organisation, says it aims to recruit at least 100 000 voluntary civilian peace keepers from ward level, and at least one 100 registered Community Based Organisations (CBOs) operating at district level by the end of this year.
Tachanzii Gandanga, ZimPAP spokesperson, said a violent free 2018 is possible if all traditional leaders buy in to the peace promotion initiative.
“We have Mashonaland Central province as our next destination, but we want to start with those provinces most afflicted by violence,” said Gandanga.
Commenting on how they are going to penetrate politically volatile rural communities where Zanu PF has maintained and enjoyed monopoly on, Gandanga said peace knows no political boundary.
“It is not a matter of penetration, but it is about encouraging peace in all the communities and the local traditional leadership just like what has happened here, we need not to persuade them as long as we approach them with this non political issue of peace,” he said.
ZimPAP is a coalition of more than twenty NGOs operating in the area of peace.
It has an affiliation of twenty seven CBOs and six hundred civilians, including chiefs, village heads, business people, and clergyman, civil servants and ordinary citizens.
ROHR donated soccer kits and prize money for soccer tournament winners and has committed to continue providing support to soccer tournaments that are set to spread to all the ten provinces of the country.