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“Never again shall we allow such Violence” :Mazowe Ward 9 Community Pledges.

The gruesome tales of the 2008 elections related violence remain episodes that no community member in Mazowe ward 9 want to recur. The violence resulted in 3 people of the same family in the same village losing their lives, they included the councilor elect for ward 9 Gibson Chironga. In order to avert possible recurrence of violence, the community working with Heal Zimbabwe took it upon itself and established a peace club in the area whose mandate like all other peace structures working with HZT, is to call members to shun violence and be ambassadors of peace. The community gave the peace club the name “Sungano” which means “binding agreement” in English.

The peace club then went through an intensive training by Heal Zimbabwe on the best possible ways to mitigate conflict by going through rigorous conflict analysis and then managing conflict through actions such as engaging local leadership. In the month of May, Sungano peace club carried out a conflict mapping where they noted that in order to publicize ,amplify and create their message of peace, they were supposed to initiate a collaborative neutral platform where they would use the platform to spread message of peace and on the importance of tolerance and peaceful co-existence within the community.

It is against such a background that the peace club mobilized the community on 13 June 2016, to build a makeshift bridge in the ward that links Majanga community and Rosa Hospital. The activity was attended by two members from the Village Development committee (VIDCO) and Village heads Chidhawu and Majanga.During the nhimbe, Village head Chidhawu acknowledged that indeed that Sungano peace club has done well to encourage peace in his area. Sungano peace club has defied odds in this area, they constantly hold nhimbes in this area which allows the community to realise the importance of unity, peace and development, he said. Members from the VIDCO also acknowledged that indeed peace was key for development as it allows people to work as a collective.

Other initiatives being carried out by community peace clubs to encourage peaceful co-existence include community dialogues, women safe spaces and youth sports for peace tournaments. All these activities aim at building social cohesion within communities which in turn rebuild relations that are key for sustaining positive peace.