By Staff Reporter
VICE president Kembo Mohadi has thanked local churches and civil society for playing a key part in the prevailing peace in the country and encouraging citizens to register to vote.
Mohadi, who is also in charge of government’s peace and reconciliation portfolio, was giving a keynote address during a two-day symposium on peace and the 2018 harmonised elections organised by the Election Resource Centre at the University of Zimbabwe campus.
The VP was giving his perspectives about healing, peace and reconciliation in the context of the forthcoming elections.
“…Government acknowledges the faith-based organisations’ efforts on building lasting peace coupled with socio-economic development initiatives that are changing communities,” he said.
“We applaud the maxim ‘register, vote and pray’ by the Christian community in which they implore members to exercise their rights to vote and to uphold peace before during and after the elections.”
While the Christian community has often come under fire for keeping to the affairs of church building, individuals within the clergy have in the past couple of years, actively challenged State excesses although often inviting a backlash from the same State.
Politicians have, likewise, often been ridiculed for turning to the church when seeking votes ahead of national elections.
When then President Robert Mugabe was put under siege during dramatic scenes that followed his November ouster last year, it took top Roman Catholic clergy Father Fidelis Mukonori’s intervention to help diffuse tensions between the long serving ex-leader and his military captors.
In his address, VP Mohadi thanked the country’s civil society for also playing a part in efforts to maintain peace in a hugely divided nation.
“One can also not ignore the initiatives for peace-building from Civil Society Organisations. These are all commendable actions that resonate with the government view that peace-building is every citizen’s duty.
“It is when one understands and appreciates the nation’s architecture for peace that one can locate their efforts effectively to build peace,” said Mohadi.
Spirit of ubuntu
The VP also seemed keen on seeing victims of past violence abandon any feelings of vengeance against their assailants when he said the spirit of “Ubuntu” was anchored of restorative practices.
“In our diversity, we need to embrace cultural practices that are restorative and not retributive,” he said.
“Restorative peace and reconciliation processes abound in our history and have been used by our communities to resolve conflicts, ease and relieve pain as well as emotional stress and so allow people to get back to normalcy and move on beyond the hurt or wrong.”
Zimbabwe has a bitter history of political conflict that has killed thousands since independence and the Zanu PF government has resisted any suggestions of a truth and reconciliation commission after most of the heinous crimes have been linked to ruling party followers.
Mohadi said elections expected this July would be held according to the “rule of law” adding that political parties have been granted space to campaign freely.
He also warned the media against inflammatory language that “steers conflict at all costs”.