Latest News and Update from Heal Zimbabwe

Heal Zimbabwe condemns in the strongest terms the use of violence against innocent civilians and journalists by the police which resulted in loss of life and injuries in Harare last night. On 22 February 2018, police officers had running battles with vendors and kombi drivers following a ban by the Ministry of Local Government prohibiting kombis from entering the central business district (CBD). This resulted in the police using teargas canisters and firing live bullets on unarmed civilians.  A total of three civilians lost their lives and many injured. Three journalists were also injured trying to cover the incident. Heal Zimbabwe perceives such act of barbarism as sad and uncalled for especially coming from law enforcers.

This incident clearly indicates that community members and citizens are not safe especially from the police who are supposed to protect them. Heal Zimbabwe also perceive the attack on journalists as a reversal of democratic rights provided for in the constitution under section 61 which guarantees freedom of expression and freedom of the media.

 Heal Zimbabwe implores the Government under the Ministry of Local Government Public Works and National Housing, the police and Harare City Council to find peaceful ways of resolving the impasse emanating from the ban of kombis. The organisation further calls for justice to be served and ensure that the culprits responsible for the killings are arrested and brought before the courts.

 Heal Zimbabwe in line with section 210 of the constitution calls for the Government with immediate effect to set up an Independent Complaints Mechanism for receiving and investigating complaints from members of the public about the misconduct on the part of members of the security services, and for remedying any harm caused by such misconduct.  Heal Zimbabwe notes that if such acts of aggression continue unabated, they threaten peace, social cohesion and cast doubt on the eligibility of the state to protect its own citizens.

Youth in Epworth have vowed to uphold peace and shun violence ahead of the 2018 elections. This came out during a peace concert conducted in Epworth by Heal Zimbabwe in collaboration with the Election Resource Centre (ERC) and the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (Zimrights) on 20 January 2018. The main act for the peace concert was renowned Dancehall artist, Winky D.

 The objective of the peace concert was to popularize the HZT national peace campaign: 13 Million Voices for Peace and afford citizens an opportunity to pledge to uphold peace before, during and after the 2018 elections. The peace concert was also aimed at mobilizing community members to register to vote ahead of the 2018 elections. The peace concert was attended by an estimated number of 8 000 people.

 As part of rallying citizens to pledge for peace ahead of the 2018 elections, Heal Zimbabwe set up a peace pledge desk that was adjacent to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) mobile registration centre where youth would pledge for peace soon after registering to vote. As part of pledging for peace, youth would fill in their personal details and append signatures to peace pledge forms indicating that they had publicly agreed to preach peace and shun political violence ahead of the elections. Heal Zimbabwe will use the peace pledge forms in its advocacy and follow up initiatives to campaign for peaceful elections. A total of 4 230 people pledged to uphold peace.

 Added to this, Heal Zimbabwe’s photo booth allowed for people who had pledged for peace to have photo sessions where each community member would reaffirm their commitment to pledge for peace by posing for a photo with placards that denounce political violence. Further to this, Heal Zimbabwe will use the peace pledges to hold community members accountable in the event that they renege on their commitment to uphold peace.

 ZEC officials also took time to explain the BVR process in detail and applauded the organization for such an initiative that seeks to ensure that the 2018 elections are peaceful. A total of 725 people managed to register on the day. Heal Zimbabwe and its partner organizations also encouraged citizens to register and vote in peace as the 2018 elections loom.

 Winky D also added his voice on the need for youth to uphold peace by encouraging youths to be peaceful during voter registration and ahead of the 2018 elections. He went on further to register to vote and encouraged youths who had not yet registered to follow suit.

 The peace concert in Epworth come at a time when Heal Zimbabwe has launched a nationwide peace campaign by conducting peace concerts as a way of encouraging citizens to uphold and pledge for peace ahead of the 2018 elections. In the past, the organization conducted a series of Youth Sports for Peace tournaments across the country so as to encourage youths to shun political violence and embrace peace. The youth tournaments were conducted under Heal Zimbabwe’s National Peace Campaign dubbed #13MilVoices4Peace, an initiative that aims to rally Zimbabweans to uphold peace ahead of the 2018 election.

Heal Zimbabwe expresses grave concern over the increase in cases of politically motivated violence. Cases of violence are being recorded in both urban and rural areas and are both intra and inter party involving mainly MDC T and ZANU PF supporters.

 On 10 January 2018, ZANU PF members, in Zaka East ward 31, Obert Sunamisai, Doubt Chitokwani, Forgive Chitokwane and Kumbirai Chitokwane assaulted MDC-T member Amos Kumire accusing him of supporting MDC-T party. The incident took place after Sunamisai had summoned Kumire intending to give him fertilizer at his homestead. Upon arrival, Sunamisai then started accusing Kumire of supporting MDC-T and organizing unsanctioned meetings in the ward. A dispute ensued between the two leading into an altercation. When Kumire tried to walk away, Sunamisai grabbed him and started assaulting him. Within moments, Sunamisai was joined by fellow ZANU PF members (Doubt Chitokwani, Forgive Chitokwane, Kumbirai) who in turn started assaulting Kumire who sustained serious injuries. The matter has been reported at Jerera police station but no arrests made so far.

 The incident in Zaka is one among many cases of political violence being recorded countrywide. On 26 December 2017, two ZANU PF youth led by ZANU PF ward chairperson for ward 10, Marondera, Obadiah Chisango heavily assaulted four MDC-T youth at Mahusekwa Business centre in Marondera West ward 10. The ZANU PF youth accused the MDC-T youth of being “sell outs” and organizing unsanctioned meetings in the ward. On 02 January 2018, deadly clashes erupted near the MDC-T party headquarters in Harare between MDC-T youths and cellphone traders from Ximex complex.

 On 02 January 2018 again, intra-party violence broke out in Epworth among ZANU PF supporters. The members accused each other of parceling out land along factional lines. The violence left two minor children severely burnt after the house belonging to Kudakwashe Damson was petrol bombed.

 Heal Zimbabwe notes that such demonstration of political intolerance is not only regrettable and unfortunate but have potential of compromising prospects for peace ahead of the 2018 elections if not addressed. Heal Zimbabwe implores political parties to reign in on errant supporters who perpetrate violence. Heal Zimbabwe also calls upon political parties in Zimbabwe to respect and enforce the Electoral Code of Conduct for Political Parties and Candidates, as it paves the way for a smooth electoral process that is devoid of violence. The Code’s purpose is to promote conditions that are conducive to free and fair elections and a climate of tolerance. The police must also be swift in apprehending people implicated in violent activities. In pursuit of his clarion call on the need for peaceful elections, President Emmerson Mnangagwa must do everything possible to ensure that the call on the need for peace and tolerance ahead of the 2018 elections is strictly adhered to and followed religiously.

 Added to this, the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC), charged with developing mechanisms for early detection of conflicts must without fail initiate robust programmes that seek to prevent conflicts and to promote peace before, during and after the 2018 elections. The NPRC must also set up an early warning system in partnership with other key stakeholders such as civil society organizations and churches for early detection of areas of potential conflicts and disputes, and to take appropriate preventive measures.

Heal Zimbabwe applauds President Mnangagwa for signing into law the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) Act on 05 January 2018. We welcome the move to operationalize the NPRC which was long overdue since the adoption of the constitution in 2013. Heal Zimbabwe has been on record calling on Government to enact an enabling legislation that operationalizes the NPRC. HZT also takes pride in the fact that the enactment of the Act into law comes at a time the organization has aggressively advocated for the full operationalization of the Commission with the latest initiative being the statement sent on 02 January 2018 imploring the President to sign the NPRC Bill 2017 to ensure the Independent Commission fulfils its constitutional mandate of promoting post conflict justice, healing and reconciliation.

 From its formative stages, Heal Zimbabwe has campaigned and advocated aggressively for the establishment of an Independent Commission in the form of the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) by initiating an array of public awareness and advocacy initiatives. Over the years, the organization raised awareness on the importance of operationalizing the Independent Commission using various initiatives that include collaborative neutral platforms, NPRC information kiosks, clean up and door to door campaigns, public meetings, training workshops, Youths Sports for Peace, Community interface dialogues and memorialization projects among others. These activities helped citizens to become engaged and pro-active in calling for the full operationalization of the NPRC.

 Added to this in 2011, Heal Zimbabwe facilitated for survivors of political violence to petition the then Organ on National Healing, Reconciliation and Integration (ONHRI) to initiate an inclusive healing and reconciliation process. In the subsequent years that followed, Heal Zimbabwe then conducted several Provincial Survivors Summits under its memorialization programme to afford survivors of political violence to add their voice to the discourse on national healing and reconciliation.

 In 2016 and 2017, HZT successfully mobilized citizens to add their voice to the NPRC draft bill during Parliamentary hearings. It is at these hearings that citizens rejected both bills on the basis that they ignored key reconciliation issues. For example, both draft bills were not clear on issues of compensation for victims of political violence. The Bills also failed to clearly highlight how the NPRC would deal with key reconciliation issues such as Operation Murambatsvina and Gukurahundi among other issues. In the same years, the organization also compiled a baseline report on the nature and format the healing and reconciliation process should take. Various stakeholders were engaged in coming up with the report. Heal Zimbabwe believes in a bottom- up approach to healing and reconciliation, a process that is inclusive of people from every level of society. The Unity Accord signed between ZANU PF and PF ZAPU in 1987 is testament to the fact that an elitist reconciliation peace deal cannot provide long lasting and wholesome solutions to reconciliation. The emotive Gukurahundi issue, even today, continues to dominate debates 31 years after the Unity Accord was signed.

 Heal Zimbabwe; however, notes that while the Act incorporated some amendments raised during the public hearings across the country, there remains serious provisions in the Act which were not repealed to incorporate the public concerns. For example, Section 10 of the Act empowers the Minister of national security to block an investigation by issuing a certificate blocking disclosure of evidence and documentation that he/she may deem to be prejudicial to the defense, external relations, internal security or economic interests of the State. Citizens rejected this provision during the public hearings. (HZT shall release a detailed analysis of the Act vis a vis expectations of victims.)

 In light of the enactment of the NPRC Act, Heal Zimbabwe implores the NPRC to:

  1. Ensure a people centered bottom- up Peace, Truth, Justice and Reconciliation process brought through an all stakeholders’ consultation process.
  2. The NPRC must carry out robust programmes that seek to prevent conflicts and to promote peace before, during and after the 2018 elections.
  3. The NPRC must set up an early warning system in partnership with other key stakeholders such as civil society organizations and churches for early detection of areas of potential conflicts and disputes, and to take appropriate preventive measures.
  4. Facilitate Community specific models for truth recovery.
  5. Assure the security of witnesses during the public hearings.
  6. Craft, recommend and implement policies and legislation which will facilitate institutional reform, restorative justice, truth recovery and truth-telling and establishment of community and national memorials.
  7. Ensure and facilitate the documentation and sharing of multiple narratives of Zimbabwe’s history.
  8. Facilitate psychosocial support to victims of violence.

 

On 10 October 2017, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), launched a Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) blitz across the country. The blitz is a follow up to the launch of the BVR by President Mugabe on the 18th of September 2017. The registration process will last for 72 days and it will be held in four phases with each kit spending 16 days at the established centre. The first phase begins on the 10th of this month until the 25th, the second phase begins on the 29th up to the 13th of November, third phase from the 16th of November to the 1st of December and the fourth and last phase on the 4th to the 19th of December 2017.

Heal Zimbabwe through its resident human rights monitors in all the country’s 10 provinces is monitoring the environment during the voter registration exercise. This is being done with the objective of monitoring the environment and report on any cases of human rights violations during the process as well as making referrals where possible for redress. In 2016, HZT established an early warning and early response system for easy detection and response to cases of human rights violations.

 Below is an update of the voter registration process from 02-11 October 2017:

Manicaland Province

Buhera ward 25

Vengai Muchinami a Village Development Committee (VIDCO) member intimidated community members during a community meeting conducted on the 2nd of October 2017 at Matsetsa Business Centre. He announced that the BVR process will allow ZANU PF to identify all community members who would have voted against ZANU PF. He also stated that once this is done, they will then embark on door to door exercises beating up the “culprits”.

Mashonaland East

Maramba Pfungwe ward 6

On Tuesday the 9th of October 2017, ZANU PF District chairperson Cleopas Kotuku, village head Chirinda and his secretary Edson Maworera forced people to pay 50 cents towards the issuance of the proof of residence to be used for the BVR process. This happened in Chirinda village in ward 6.

Maramba Pfungwe ward 6

Village head Kerious Marekera intimidated community members during a community meeting conducted on the 9th of October 2017 in Mukwatsine village. The village head ordered community members to submit registration slips to him once they register to vote. He further highlighted that the BVR process will reveal to ZANU PF the candidates that people will have voted for.

Maramba Pfungwe ward 1

Councillor Pedzisai Makoma intimidated community members during a meeting at Nyanzou Primary school on the 4th of October 2017. At this meeting, Councillor Makoma announced that people who will vote for the opposition will be detected by the BVR machines, hence they should repent from supporting the opposition. Councillor Makoma further highlighted that all opposition party supporters will be heavily beaten after the 2018 elections.

 Maramba Pfungwe ward 2

Maramba Pfungwe Member of Parliament, Washington Musvaire intimidated village heads during a meeting conducted on the 10th of October 2017 at Gowe Business centre. He instructed all Village heads to record people’s names as they register to vote and ensure that they record their details and serial numbers of voter registration slips.

Mutoko South ward 26

ZANU PF District Chairperson Gift Chirova and Kudakwashe Nyagano told people at Corner Store Business centre in ward 26 that after registering to vote, each person should submit the serial number of the registration slip to their village heads and ZANU officials.  They said this on the 9th of October 2017. Chirova and Nyagano threatened those who defy with violence and evictions.

Mutoko East ward 17

On 10 October 2017, ZANU PF Youth chairperson Kuda Kagoro directed all traditional leaders to force-march people to BVR registration centres. He instructed them that each traditional leader should go with people within his jurisdiction to the registration centre and make sure everyone registers to vote. Kagoro also told the Traditional leaders to compile names of people who refuse to cooperate.

Mutoko South ward 28

Councillor Tapiwa Chiziwe addressed a meeting at Hoyuyu Business centre on the 10th of October 2017. He told people that they were supposed to submit serial numbers of their registration slips to their village heads.

Mudzi South ward 13

On 10 October 2017, ZANU PF District Chairperson Smart Chizhowa ordered village heads to force-march people to BVR registration centres. Chizhowa also informed the Village heads to compile names of people as they register to vote.

Mudzi North ward 3

On 10 October 2017, David Chimukoko a former Councillor from ZANU PF ordered village heads to force people within their jurisdiction to go and register to vote. Chimukoko also told Village heads that they should compile names of people after registration.

Mutoko South ward 21

On 09 October 2017, a ZANU PF member only identified as Mai Rimakamwe took down voter registration slip serial numbers from people who had finished registering to vote at Gumbure Primary School.

Murehwa Ward 16

On 10 October 2017, ZANU PF ward chairperson, Temba Chimombe instructed Village heads not to sign affidavit forms for opposition party members. Chimombe also told the Village heads to compile names of everyone who registers to vote in the area.

Mashonaland Central

Mt Darwin North ward 5

On 09 October 2017, Councillor Rainess Ben announced during a meeting at Tsenga Primary school that all Village heads were supposed to compile names of people who would have registered as voters. On 10 October 2017, Village heads Museredza and Kabayira were seen taking down serial numbers of voter slips from people who had registered.

Mt Darwin North ward 33

On 11 October 2017, Village heads Chiguma and Kambewu force marched people to Bandimba Primary school to register to vote.

Mt Darwin North ward 33

On 11 October 2017, Village heads Chiguma and Kambewu force-marched people to Bandimba Primary School to register to vote. The Village heads also told people to submit serial numbers of their registration slips to them after the registration process.

Masvingo Province

Bikita East Ward 20

On the 4th of October 2017, Councillor Martin Chiwacha addressed a meeting at Chiroorwe ward centre and announced that BVR machines will allow ZANU PF to identify opposition party supporters. He stated that after the 2018 elections, they will use information from the BVR equipments to identify all opposition party supporters. He further indicated that all those who will be identified shall be thoroughly beaten soon after the election results are announced hence people should vote “wisely”.

 Mashonaland West

Chegutu East ward 17

On 8 October 2017, Councillor Michael Marecha convened a meeting at Musengezi farmers’ hall at Dombwe Township. At the meeting, he announced that the BVR is going to help ZANU PF identify opposition party members. He further stated that all those who will be detected to shall be beaten up soon after the 2018 election results are announced.

Kariba ward 3

On 10 0ctober 2017, ZANU PF District Chairperson, Clever Chitofu and ZANU PF member Wayne Muparaganda, took down serial numbers of voter registration slips from people who had registered to vote at Nyanheve Primary School and Ambassador Church polling station.

Conclusion

It is Heal Zimbabwe’s assertion that the new BVR system was supposed to be accompanied by a robust voter education exercise to dispel falsehoods and myths being peddled especially in rural areas. These lies and threats have a great potential of disenfranchising many people from exercising their democratic right of voting. Heal Zimbabwe has sent all these cases to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission for redress. The organisation will continue to monitor human rights violations around the registration process especially in political hotspots areas.

 

Heal Zimbabwe welcomes the Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) blitz by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) that has commenced today 10 October 2017 across the country. The blitz is a follow up to the launch of the BVR by President Mugabe on the 18th of September 2017.

 The organisation calls upon all Zimbabweans 18 years and above to turn up for this essential constitutional process as it allows them to vote in the 2018 national elections. It is every eligible Zimbabwean’s right to register to vote and freely participate in electing leaders of choice. HZT therefore calls for peace and tolerance during the registration process. HZT further calls upon all electoral stakeholders to promote peace and a conducive environment for everyone to freely register to vote and actually vote without fear of violence. From the time the programme was launched, HZT through its resident human rights monitors in all the 10 Provinces has recorded several human rights violations around the roll out of the BVR process. Some of the human rights violations recorded range from voter intimidation and harassment mostly by unscrupulous political party members and Traditional leaders.

 It is the considered view of Heal Zimbabwe that such human rights violations during the BVR process runs against the grain of Part 8 of the Electoral Act on Offences in Registration of Voters that criminalises acts of intimidation during voter registration. In light of this, Heal Zimbabwe implores political parties and the general public to register in peace and maintain community cohesion through appreciating and respecting diverse views, opinions and choices.

 The BVR blitz will last for 72 days and it will be held in four phases with each kit spending 16 days at the established centre. The first phase begins on the 10th of this month until the 25th, the second phase begins on the 29th up to the 13th of November, third phase from the 16th of November to the first of December and the fourth and last phase on the 4th to the 19th of December. As part of encouraging peaceful participation of Zimbabweans in electoral processes, Heal Zimbabwe has embarked on a nationwide peace campaign: 13 Million Voices For Peace. The organisation is targeting youth, aspiring candidates, traditional leaders, political parties, women and men. Several public peace awareness exercises have been lined up that includes, peace concerts, sports for peace tournaments, public peace pledges, radio peace talk shows, nhimbes, community interface dialogues, peace clean up campaigns and peace information kiosks at growth points and public places among other initiatives.

Peace Begins with me, Peace begins with you and Peace begins with all of us #13milvoices4Peace, #ivote4peace2018.

 

Community Action Accountability Teams (CAATs), established by communities working with Heal Zimbabwe in Gutu and Zaka facilitated four community interface meetings with traditional leaders from 19-21 September 2017. The dialogue sessions came as some traditional leaders are being accused of harassing and intimidating community members around the Biometric Voter Registration process.

The objective of the interface meetings was to create a platform for community members to interface and interact with duty bearers on critical issues affecting the community. Some of the major issues that came out during the interface meeting include 1) partisan conduct of traditional leaders in issuing proof of residence for the BVR process ii) forced attendance to political gatherings iii) unfair food aid distribution. The interface meetings were attended by a total of 250 people (101 men and 149 women), nine Traditional leaders, one councillor, two School Development Committee members SDCs), seven Village Development Committees (VIDCOs) and three Ward Development Committees (WADCO) members.

As a way forward, the interface meetings resolved that the CAATs together with the traditional leaders and other opinion leaders collaborate and carry out public awareness campaigns on the importance of peace, tolerance, social cohesion ahead of the elections. During the public awareness campaigns, HZT shall also facilitate for organisations working on elections such as ERC and ZESN to attend and raise awareness on the BVR process as a contribution towards peaceful and credible elections. Traditional leaders were also encouraged to acquaint themselves with their constitutional obligations and duties such as not participating in partisan politics or furthering the interests of any political parties as outlined in Section 281 of the Constitution. Members of the CAATs also appealed to community members to approach them with cases of human rights violations so that they can facilitate for them to report the cases to the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) for redress.

A CAAT is a safe space group of women and youths from diverse religious, political and socio-economic backgrounds working together to build peace and demand social accountability from duty bearers.

 

Heal Zimbabwe strongly condemns the unlawful arrest of #ThisFlag Movement Founder, Pastor Evan Mawarire. Pastor Mawarire was arrested while preaching at his church on 24 September 2017, and is being charged with subverting a constitutionally elected Government as defined in Section 22 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act. The charge emanates from a video he circulated on Saturday 23 September 2017 on social media over Zimbabwe’s worsening economic crisis.

 Heal Zimbabwe notes that the infringement of citizens’ rights such as unlawful arrests and detentions are a violation of citizens’ fundamental human rights as provided for in the constitution. The arrest of Mawarire comes hardly a year after the Government solemnly committed to foster a culture of promoting and protecting human rights during a United Nations Human Rights Universal Periodic Review council that was held in Switzerland in November 2016.

 Heal Zimbabwe implores the Government to desist from using arbitrary arrests as a way of silencing citizens from expressing their fundamental human rights and freedoms such as freedom of expression. Section 61 of the Constitution stipulates that (i) Every person has the right to freedom of expression, which includes (a) freedom to seek, receive and communicate ideas and other information (b) freedom of artistic expression and scientific research and creativity.  Instead of using unlawful arrests against citizens, Government must rather address the economic challenges bedeviling the country which have led to the spiraling of prices on basic commodities and shortage of fuel. The organization further calls upon the Government to curb the mushrooming black market that is creating unnecessary panic and anxiety amongst the populace. HZT further calls for the unconditional release of Pastor Mawarire.

In a move that is expected to ensure that peace and tolerance prevails ahead of the 2018 elections, youth in Chipinge South have vowed to intensify peace campaigns that will ensure   that community members uphold peace and tolerance. This came out during a Sports for peace tournament hosted by Heal Zimbabwe in Chipinge South on 29 July 2017. The tournament was organized under Heal Zimbabwe’s National Peace campaign, #13MilVoices4Peace, an initiative that seeks to encourage community leaders and members to uphold and pledge for peace ahead of the 2018 elections. The sports games were attended by 200 people, and six traditional leaders.

 The tournament was conducted at Vheneka Primary school and saw 6 soccer and 6 netball teams battling out for the prestigious Peace cup. The participating teams were drawn from three wards of Chipinge South (wards 27, 23 and 22). The Youth sports games were organized by Wadzanai community peace club, a local peace club established by Heal Zimbabwe in Chipinge South. Village head Rukweza was the guest of honour at the tournament. In his address, Village head Rukweza underscored the need for community members to uphold peace and be tolerant of each other as the nation readies for the 2018 elections. “..The unity amongst community members during this sports for peace tournament must also be exercised from today going forward. We need to exercise tolerance amongst each other because peace begins with me, peace begins with you and peace begins with all of us”, he said.

 As part of pledging for peace ahead of the 2018 elections, all the participating teams signed peace pledges which symbolize their commitment to uphold peace and intensify peace initiatives in the area. Mambarangwa Football Club won the peace cup in the soccer category while Pamamonya netball team won in the netball category.

 The Sports for peace tournament in Chipinge South come at a time when Heal Zimbabwe has implemented similar sports for peace tournaments in areas such as Tsholotsho North, Zaka, Mazowe, Rushinga, Murehwa, Mutasa and Makoni. The Sports for peace specifically target youths drawn from various political parties with an objective of building peace and tolerance among the youths.

Heal Zimbabwe expresses grave concern over the disruption and surveillance of war veterans’ peace education initiatives in communities that have been affected by political violence by the police. This was revealed in a statement by the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association (ZNLWVA) on the 26th of July 2017 authored by Wilbert Sadomba.

In their statement, the war veterans lamented that the police stopped a peace awareness campaign initiative in Mashonaland East and questioned members from the ZNLWVA who were piloting the project. War veterans also said that community members who were engaged during their peace campaigns were followed up on and questioned by state security agents.

Heal Zimbabwe appreciates that war veterans are key stakeholders in national healing and reconciliation processes. War veterans, whose legacy was tainted by their participation in the country’s past political conflicts, are critical stakeholders in building a peaceful Zimbabwe. Therefore, the initiative by war veterans is not only noble but it amplifies efforts by various organizations such as Heal Zimbabwe in peacebuilding, violence prevention and conflict transformation ahead of the 2018 elections and beyond. This also justifies why there is an urgent need for the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) to be fully operationalized.

Heal Zimbabwe further commends the war veterans for taking a bold stance against violence. Such a stance is a positive step towards the realization of peace and tolerance ahead of the 2018 elections.

 

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