By Joyce Mukucha and Patricia Mashiri
The Centre for Conflict Management and Transformation (CCMT) has partnered with the Voices in Vision of Africa (VIVA) in creating dialogues that unite young people as well as directing them towards conducting peaceful 2018 harmonised elections.
The dialogues involve youths from different political parties to encourage them to desist from violence before, during and after the harmonised elections.
Wonder Phiri, the Director of CCMT said his organisation was committed to engageing the youths from different societies of Zimbabwe and promote dialogue as a tool for conflict resolution and management. He said it was CCMT’s role to guarantee youth participation in developmental initiatives.
Phiri said the dialogue was going to bring out solutions that can guide to peaceful elections especially for young people in Zimbabwe. For a prosperous nation to be achieved, he pointed out that there was need to reach out to as many youths as they could in spreading the word of peace.
“This dialogue we had here was very important as it is part and parcel of the work that we are doing as CCMT to try and ensure that despite diversity as Zimbabweans we should be held accountable for each other. We have a responsibility to ensure that any process be it economic, political, social or religious is inclusive for every Zimbabwean.
“This is one of the steps we are taking as an organisation to make sure that youths are mobilised to desist from violence so that we achieve free, fair and credible elections on various political parties. Peace is the key to development and we must make sure that it prevails before we start preaching about development,” he said.
Godfrey Tsenengamu, the ZANU-PF Youth League national political commissar said political parties must unite and shun hate speech and slogans because in most cases they are the ones which trigger violence amongst the youths.
“We are happy because this platform unites us as political parties. We must shun hate speech and slogans so that we will live in peace with one another. Political parties must not run terror groups as this bring political tensions that leads to violence. Our political parties should not provide legal presentation to violent people so that everyone will know the code of conduct and how to behave in the society,” Tsenengamu said.
Tsenengamu also encouraged political parties to engage their members in a top to down approach so that all the supporters in the grassroots will not fight each other and freely choose leaders of therir choice.
Lovemore Chinoputsa, the Secretary General of the Movement for Democratic Change urged youths to take part in the electoral processes as well as keep engaging them.
“Though we might differ from the way we perceive things, it is important to give young people the opportunity to air out their views and concerns. Youths can help in providing the ultimate solutions to defend the interests of the nation thereby we build a more peaceful country,” said Chinoputsa.
Magaret Chogugudza, the CCMT Buddy mentor said the youths aspire for a peaceful and prosperous Zimbabwe as Section 10 of the constitution talks about unity, peace and development.
“Zimbabwe has been rated as one of the countries with the most political violence in which youths are the most perpetrators. I am glad that we have political parties here and we are urging them to desist from political violence especially during the election period,” Chogugudza said.
Other political members who attended the Inter Party Youth Forum suggested that it was vital to create a system and a culture where citizens can differ in a respective way. Civil society organisations were urged to play a role of monitoring issues that affect young people and craft ways to reduce conflicts.
CCMT’s is a non-governmental organisation with the aim of providing the space in which stakeholders and communities can come to discuss different issues. From various dialogues it has conducted so far, the organisation has been definitely witnessing a lot of positive changes in terms of behaviour and peoples’ attitudes towards peace in general and also in terms of development within the communities.
As the 2018 harmonised elections are around the corner, the organisation has seen it necessary to promote dialogue among the youths to ensure that they become tools for national development.