Political parties including ZANU PF and MDC-Alliance have accepted that Zimbabwe’s legacy of violence and the entrenched culture of impunity are the primary causes of continued political and electoral violence. During a Peace and Social Cohesion Dialogue Series conducted by Heal Zimbabwe in partnership with Zimbabwe Television Network (ZTN) on 21 October 2021 there was concurrence among participants on the need to end politically motivated violence. Participants at the dialogue included ZANU PF Secretary for Legal Affairs, Paul Mangwana, Labour, Economists and African Democrats (LEAD) President, Linda Masarira, MDC Alliance Deputy National Chairperson, Job Sikhala and Kwanele Hlabangana from the Political Actors Dialogue (POLAD).
Participants were in agreement that indeed there was a culture of violence in the country especially during elections.”From 1980, supporters of the late Vice President, Joshua Nkomo were massacred during Gukurahundi and there was no remedy. Perpetrators of such violence were never brought to book”, said Job Sikhala. He further highlighted that even soldiers that shot civilians on August 1, 2018 have not yet been arrested and this speaks to an entrenched culture of impunity that is rampant in the country. Paul Mangwana however, highlighted that his party cannot take responsibility of violence that took place before 2017 and that the current government upholds peace and tolerance in its conduct.”I cannot account for what happened before President Emmerson Mnangagwa took power in 2017, but I can assure you that ZANU PF led by President Mnangagwa is a peaceful party”, he said. He further highlighted that the establishment of the Motlanthe Commission of Inquiry after the extra-judicial killings on 1 August 2018 was a commitment by President Mnangagwa to address violence.
Heal Zimbabwe’s dialogue calling for an end to political violence took place at a time when country witnessing a resurgence of politically motivated violence within and across political parties as Zimbabwe prepares for the 2023 elections. As way forward, participants implored their leaders to adhere to Peace Pledge they signed ahead of the 2018 elections. On behalf of their political parties, the participants pleaded for sincerity to commitments in ending electoral and political violence including by ensuring that the government facilitate the holding of free and fair elections and cultivating a culture of tolerance.
Heal Zimbabwe is a grassroots oriented peace building organisation that envisions a socially cohesive nation that enjoys peace, tolerance and prosperity at all tiers of society. Hence, the Peace and Social Cohesion Dialogue Series hosted by Heal Zimbabwe is one among many of its initiatives modelled to create national conversations on the need for peace and social cohesion. Heal Zimbabwe also utilizes various strategies to address conflicts in local communities including dialogue, mediation, conflict transformation and social cohesion building. We build infrastructures for peace to end violence and deepening social cohesion.