A call for National Unity, Peace and Stability as guaranteed in Chapter 2: Section 10 of the Constitution!!!
Heal Zimbabwe joins the rest of the world in commemorating International Day of Peace. This year’s commemorations are running under the theme, “The Sustainable Development Goals: Building Blocks for Peace.” Each year the International Day of Peace is observed around the world on 21 September. The United Nations’ General Assembly has declared this as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples.
In his address on the occasion of this years’ International Day of Peace, UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon highlighted the importance of UN member states to create a future that promotes prosperity, peace and partnership in pursuit of peace and sustainable development. “The people of the world have asked us to shine a light on a future of promise and opportunity. Member States have responded with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development… It is an agenda for people, to end poverty in all its forms. An agenda for the planet, our common home. An agenda for shared prosperity, peace and partnership.” he said.
For UN member states like Zimbabwe, the occasion for this year’s commemoration offers an opportunity for self-introspection on how it has fared in creating a future that seeks to promote and uphold peace. Goal number 16 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) demands that countries promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels. Unfortunately, for the country, the current episodes where riot police is responding to peaceful demonstrations by citizens using brute force, continues to create fissures and dents on all attempts to enjoy fundamental human rights and freedoms by citizens. Fundamental human rights and freedoms such as those provided for in section 59 of the constitution which promotes freedom to demonstrate and petition must be enjoyed by every citizen.
This year’s commemorations are also taking place against a background where the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC), an independent commission mandated to ensure post-conflict justice, healing and reconciliation is yet to be functional. While the gazetting of the NPRC bill on 18 December 2015 by government was a positive step towards operationalising the NPRC, such effort alone is not enough to attain national healing and reconciliation. The withdrawal of the NPRC bill from Parliament in May 2016 after citizens shredded its content during nationwide public consultative meetings is testimony that the bill failed to offer a comprehensive framework to justice, healing, reconciliation and social cohesion.
Heal Zimbabwe calls upon the Ministry responsible for National Healing to stand guided by both the constitution and the views of the people of Zimbabwe as expressed during the bill consultations. Heal Zimbabwe further implores the Ministry to swiftly move in to ensure commencement of the Parliamentary processes that lead to the enactment of the law and effective operationalisation of the NPRC. And equally important, HZT reiterates that the Government must engage protestors and proffer solutions to their grievances rather than quelling the protests using violence as this only defer the problems. HZT lastly, calls upon all Zimbabweans expressing their grievances through protests to do so peacefully as violence is totally unacceptable in modern day societies. Peace begins with me, Peace begins with You, Peace begins with all of Us!!!