Zimbabwe Struggles for True Peace Amidst Ongoing Challenges

Calls for unity and tolerance in Zimbabwe's peace efforts

by Adenike Adeodun

Zimbabwe has not experienced real peace more than 40 years after attaining independence, according to Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) national director Perlagia Kapuya. Speaking during the International Day of Living Together in Peace commemorations in Mutasa district’s Ward 10 last weekend, Kapuya emphasized the need to re-establish a peaceful environment characterized by tolerance and mutual respect.

Kapuya highlighted that the event served as a powerful reminder of the importance of unity, understanding, and mutual respect in a nation still plagued by conflict, discrimination, and inequality. “We recognize that peace is not simply the absence of war, which we do not have here in Zimbabwe, but a state of being that allows us all to thrive, grow, and reach our full potential as individuals, as a community, and as a country,” she said.

“This day calls on us to be more tolerant of people who think differently from us and to be more inclusive, ensuring everyone has an opportunity. This includes persons with disabilities, young people, women, men, and other categories of people who are usually left out,” Kapuya added.

Kapuya urged communities to build bridges and reject political violence, corruption, discrimination, and intimidation. “Working together for peace means using dialogue to resolve conflicts in families and communities. Fighting or abusing each other’s rights and freedoms because of our power in politics, at work, or in the community undermines this agenda of living together in peace and affects our development as a country,” she asserted.

At the Zimbabwe Peace Project, there is a strong belief that human rights are universal and that no one is above the law. “If we all play our part in protecting each other’s rights, we will have a peaceful and better community,” Kapuya said.

Tapiwanashe Chiriga, Heal Zimbabwe Trust advocacy officer, observed that Zimbabweans are generally peaceful, with disturbances typically occurring during election seasons. However, he pointed out that Zimbabwe is currently experiencing “negative peace” rather than “positive peace.” Negative peace refers to the mere absence of conflict without the presence of the necessary conditions for a healthy, thriving society.

Chiriga explained that positive peace is anchored on eight pillars: a well-functioning government, a sound business environment, equitable distribution of resources, acceptance of the rights of others, good relations with neighbors, high levels of human capital development, free flow of information, and low levels of corruption. “Zimbabwe has failed to meet these basic pillars because of a toxic political culture that perpetuates political intolerance, human rights abuses, and weak institutions,” he stated.

Chiriga called on the government to take the lead in uniting the country and ensuring that Zimbabwe lives up to the pillars of positive peace. “To build peace and a culture of living together in harmony, the government must take the lead in uniting the country and ensuring that Zimbabwe meets the pillars of positive peace mentioned earlier,” he said. Chiriga also emphasized the importance of respecting differences among citizens.

The United Nations declared May 16 as the International Day of Living Together in Peace to promote peace, tolerance, inclusion, understanding, and solidarity annually. This day serves as a regular mobilization of efforts to foster a culture of peace worldwide.

The commemorations of the International Day of Living Together in Peace in Mutasa district underscored the ongoing challenges Zimbabwe faces in achieving true peace. The event highlighted the need for a collective effort to promote tolerance, inclusivity, and respect for human rights.

Kapuya’s and Chiriga’s calls for a shift from negative to positive peace resonate deeply in a country still grappling with the legacy of political violence and socio-economic disparities. Their messages serve as a reminder that peace is not merely the absence of conflict but a comprehensive state of well-being that enables individuals and communities to flourish.

The path to positive peace in Zimbabwe requires addressing the root causes of conflict and inequality. It demands strong, transparent institutions, equitable resource distribution, and a commitment to human rights and the rule of law. Only by fostering an environment where dialogue and inclusivity prevail can Zimbabwe hope to achieve lasting peace and development.

As Zimbabwe continues to navigate its path toward peace, the lessons from the International Day of Living Together in Peace provide valuable insights. The commitment to building bridges, promoting tolerance, and ensuring inclusivity must be at the forefront of efforts to transform the nation.

Kapuya and Chiriga’s advocacy for positive peace highlights the critical role of both government and citizens in creating a peaceful society. By working together and respecting each other’s rights and differences, Zimbabwe can overcome the challenges of negative peace and move toward a future where true peace and prosperity are attainable for all.


Source: Newsday

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