Community leaders in Tsholotsho have stepped up their efforts to build peace in their local communities as the nation braces for 2018 elections. From 29 May- 04 June 2017, Community peace clubs in Tsholotsho North wards 5,3,8 and 1 organized a series of collaborative platforms (Amalima) that were aimed at raising peace and tolerance ahead of the 2018 elections. The collaborative neutral platforms were attended by 250 community members, 8 Traditional leaders (7 Village heads and 1 Headman) and 10 Village Development Committee (VIDCO) members. The nhimbes were held under the Heal Zimbabwe #15MillionVoicesForPeace National Peace Campaign meant to promote peaceful participation in the 2018 elections.
The collaborative neutral platforms saw the peace clubs mobilizing community members for clean-up campaigns at local schools and business centres. One of the major issue that came out during the Amalima was rampant unemployment especially among youths. Community members noted that this posed a serious threat to the prevalence of peace since in previous elections many youths have been used by some political players to perpetrate human rights violations.
As a way forward, the peace clubs proposed to conduct Sports for Peace tournaments that will specifically target youths where they can raise awareness on the need for peace and tolerance ahead of the plebiscite. The tournaments shall encourage youth to be peace ambassadors, taking an active role in mobilizing communities to shun any form of violence ahead of the elections.
Heal Zimbabwe through its community peace structures, is currently implementing a series of collaborative neutral platforms across the country meant to promote peace and tolerance in local communities.
A Peace Club is a ward based community group of people who come together to promote peaceful coexistence in their communities. Peace club membership is drawn from diverse local community members that include traditional leaders, church leaders, women, youth, business people, people with disabilities and village health workers.