War veterans, churches pledge to reinforce peace

HARARE - War veterans, churches and rights groups wound up a crucial election meeting last week with a promise to restore peace and dignity to Zimbabwe, scarred by violent previous polls.

Drawing wide support for a pledge to impose peace after previous elections plunged Zimbabwe into election-related chaos, war veterans with a reputation for toughness, pledged to build peace ahead of the keenly-watched 2018 do-or-die election.

Zimbabwe Liberators Platform (ZLP) director Wilson Nharingo said his organisation was formed in 2000 as a response to a wave of violence, lawlessness and anarchy that gripped the country then due to the land invasions and the elections that were about to take place.

“These former senior commanders sat down, discussed and agreed that what was happening was a negation of the liberation struggle ideals.

“This was a deviation from the principles that enabled the waging of the liberation struggle.”

He said the ZLP was working to engage the other entity of former freedom fighters, the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA), in its wish to reshape former liberation fighters into peace ambassadors in Zimbabwe.

“Who else other than the war veteran can convince the rogue war veterans that what they are doing is bad?” Nharingo asked in solidarity remarks at the recent ZimRights Annual General Meeting (AGM) held in Harare.

Kenneth Mtata, the general secretary of the Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC) said: “Human rights are the infrastructure of human dignity.

“All Zimbabweans, including those who are running this country . . . including political parties …including the police, everyone must believe and value the dignity of the individual.

“It is only when we have realised that we would have succeeded to serve our purpose.”

Zimbabwe NGO Human Rights Forum (NGO Forum) director Lloyd Kuvheya praised ZimRights for teaching communities about the new Constitution.

“We have a new Constitution that we got in 2013 which has an expanded Bill of Rights.

“More critically, (we have) the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission that is meant to address the legacy of violence that we now want to get away from as we move towards a new peaceful and prosperous Zimbabwe.”

ZimRights director Okay Machisa said: “Our importance to the communities is that we want to see peace. The war we are going to fight is to defend human rights.”

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