Peace and democracy: make your voice heard

“Since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defences of peace must be constructed.” (UNESCO Constitution, 1945)

Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition joins the rest of the world in commemorating the International Day of Peace and Democracy. The day comes at a time when the world is facing challenges of dramatic proportions characterised by civil unrest, politically motivated violence, civil wars and strife.

The cry for peace seems to be drowned by the noises of dictators refusing to leave power and virtual monarchs oppressing their own people. In the midst of such challenges, this year’s theme, “Peace and democracy: make your voice heard,” indicates that there is a causal relationship between sustainable peace and the people’s ability to be able to vent, and cry wolf when the situation demands it.

The theme allows for a reflection on the Zimbabwean situation, as it makes it clear that the artificial peace enjoyed in the country, which is not predicated on sound institutions and people’s ability to exercise their freedoms, and enjoy their rights, is nothing, if not fragile.

The fact that the day coincides with the third anniversary of the signing of the Global Political Agreement, puts the Zimbabwean situation in sharp contrast to the aspirations and spirit of the day. The harassment, intimidation and muzzling of citizens is on the upsurge, with continued infringements and interference by the state in church and religious matters.

These attacks on the peace makers fly in the face of aspirations for peace. The Coalition contends, on this day, that Zimbabwe’s aspirations for lasting peace should be complemented by substantial promotion of the culture of peace, professionalism and restraint on the part of uniformed forces, as well as the reform of laws and institutions which are anathema to peace.

The Coalition calls upon Zimbabweans to observe and celebrate this day through increased calls for the respect of the rule of law, and reforms to laws, institutions and attitudes that by their nature fight against the promotion of peace, tolerance, the respect for human rights and democracy, in our country.

The Coalition cautions the Inclusive government from continuing to engage in actions that spit in the faces of Zimbabwe’s suffering masses, as exemplified by the recent lavish spending of government on luxury vehicles. This is taking place in a country where the government is said to be broke, delivery of essential social services is poor and where civil servants cannot even afford bus fares. Such actions are infuriating, and can be a threat to peace.

As the world celebrates the International Day of Peace, it is important to keep in mind that democracy is an objective, democratization is a process and lastly that democratization serves the cause of peace, justice and progressive change without force. Let us continue to strive together for a more inclusive, democratic, and peaceful future for us all.

Post published in: Politics

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