Heal Zimbabwe Board Member; Bishop Ancellimo Magaya has underscored the need for heroes’ day celebrations to be an opportunity for the country to reflect on the gains of independence which brought with it key fundamental human rights such as freedom of expression. This came out during a Social Cohesion Dialogue series organised by Heal Zimbabwe to commemorate Heroes Day on 12 August 2021.
Panelist included Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) Chairperson Christopher Mutsvangwa, Heal Zimbabwe Board member, Ancellimo Magaya, National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) Commisioner,Dr Tinashe Rukuni and renowned academic, Dr Pedzisai Ruhanya.In his submission, Bishop Magaya highlighted the importance of reflecting on gains of independence.”The commemorations can have meaning when we revert back to the founding principles of the struggle which was to have freedom of speech, freedom of association and freedom of belonging to any political parties, hence Heroes Day cannot be meaningful without justice”, he said. Ambassador Mutsvangwaalso underscored the need for citizens to continue celebrating the selfless sacrifice by heroes to achieve a prosperous country. “Heroes’ day is about continuing to chat the vision and celebrating people who sacrificed their lives and envisioned a prosperous nation”, he added. According to Dr Ruhanya, a hero is defined by their sacrifices and by their work. In his presentation NPRC Commisioner,Dr Rukuni bemoaned rampant polarization that made it difficult for the Commission to effective fulfill its mandate.”From our investigations, polarization in most communities makes it difficult to initiate healing and reconciliation initiatives”, he said.
As part of resolutions, the dialogue noted that there was need address all barriers of social cohesion by improving social accountability and citizen participation and to find inclusive ways of creating dialogue amongst parties. The dialogue meetings by Heal Zimbabwe are part of efforts to empower local communities to help safeguard against human rights abuse and also help build peaceful communities. Heal Zimbabwe utilizes various strategies to address conflicts in local communities. One of these ways is the use of community dialogues, an initiative for communities to discuss and collectively identify ways through which they can proffer solutions to problems in their communities. The platforms also equip communities with relevant information on Covid 19, Gender Based Violence (GBV) and human rights. Such platforms also facilitate local level conversations on pertinent issues affecting communities as well as create socially cohesive communities.