26 Oct Striving towards Shaping Peace Together on the International Day of Peace.
Zimbabwe is going through one of the most complex socio-political and economic phases and today,
21 September, 2020, as the country and the rest of the world commemorate the International Day of Peace, it is critical, as the Zimbabwe Peace Project notes, to begin a process towards shaping peace together.Peace is no doubt, just the absence of war, but the existence of an enabling environment, where human and people’s rigths are realizable.In nationwide interviews conducted by the ZPP prior to this day,
Zimbabweans largely expressed their desire for a Zimbabwe free of politically motivated abductions, torture, violence, harassment and intimidation, a Zimbabwe where those in power uphold the Constitution and respect human rights, and a Zimbabwe where government works to ensure everyone enjoys a thriving economy and equal opportunities in all spheres.More importantly, Zimbabweans emphasized that citizens are not each other’s enemies. Sadly, this year, while the Zimbabwean government was supposed to foster unity rallying all in the fight against the common enemy – COVID-19 -, it used this period to unleash terror on citizens who dared speak out.Since April the State embarked on an orgy of repression, cracking down on human rights actors and political activists and crushing dissenting voices.The ZPP has recorded the State as being the major perpetrator of human rights violations from April to August and the nature of the violations has largely been harassment and intimidation, assault, arbitrary and unlawful arrests, among others. The State has also been accused by citizens of abductions and torture of those perceived as enemies of the State.Evidently, more than ever before, the democratic space in Zimbabwe has shrunk and on this day, the ZPP has the following key messages:
To the government of Zimbabwe:
•Abductions and torture, harassment and intimidation, arbitrary and unlawful arrests have no place in an aspiring democracy and in this modern society. As a government charged with the responsibility over the people of Zimbabwe, it is critical to respect the Constitution and ensure that all Zimbabweans enjoy their rights as enshrined in the Constitution, in addition to understanding that human rights actors and political activists are not enemies, but have an important, and justifiably Constitutional role in advocating for accountability. This will foster a culture of Constitutionalism, which in turn contributes towards sustainable peace.
• The economy has become the biggest threat to peace in Zimbabwe. Government should ensure that it works towards fixing the current economic crisis and ensure inclusivity in decisions that shape the economy. A good economy makes a nation happy, and gives everyone a chance to realise their personal goals and all that makes a nation peaceful
• Government should ensure there is inclusive, genuine dialogue on the issues affecting Zimbabwe. Only through this can we find ourselves as a nation as we will have a chance to deal with all the long-standing issues emanating from past and present phases of conflict.
To the people of Zimbabwe:
•The quest for sustainable peace in Zimbabwe is all our responsibility, and in all our spheres, we can contribute towards a peaceful Zimbabwe if we hold government to account and speak out on policies and acts that are threats to lasting peace.