International Peace Day Statement

As championed by the theme “Sustainable peace for a sustainable future” it is important to note that there will not be any desirable future without peace. Peace is actually an integral component of any sustainable future.

The annual recognition of the 21st September marks that time when progressive minds are afforded a chance to reaffirm allegiance to good governance, democratic principles, tolerance and largely the respect for peace. The day was set by the United Nations in 1981 through resolution 36/67 and first celebrated in 1982. It is reserved for all nations, groups and people to honour a cessation of hostilities and to otherwise commemorate the day through education and public awareness on issues related to peace.

Back home to Zimbabwe there has been relative progress politically, economically and socially although a lot more is still to be done. The strides made in the aforementioned spheres have a positive effect to the attainment of peace. The Zimbabwean situation can best be appreciated on a comparative basis that is when it is compared to the period preceding the formation of the coalition government. The more than a decade long political squabbles spanning from the late 90s and associated economic recession had a massive effect to the several components crucial for the sustenance of peace. Zimbabweans’ experience with elections is not good at all as they have been marred by rape, torture, displacements and all forms of violence.

However, through the coalition government, a constitution draft containing several provisions with the potential to address past anomalies that acted as hindrances to sustenance of peace have been written and is about to go for referendum. This year the cabinet adopted a draft Code of Conduct of the Organ on National Healing, Reconciliation and Integration. The code of conduct is expected to ensure that political parties be held accountable for their supporters’ violent conduct among other things.

A Human Rights Commission Bill and Electoral Amendment Bill are also in the pipeline though the pace and commitment must be improved. We have also seen some improvements in the education sector, which has mainly been characterised by unprecedented drop outs from the primary level up to the higher and tertiary level. Changes have also been made in the health sector and we can single out recent scratching of maternal fee as one of the commendable developments. We also understand that the conditions of service are still said to be below expectations. All the aforementioned factors have a complementary effect to the attainment of the desired effect. Peace-building and sustenance is a process- hence the need to remain committed to its attainment.

ZimRights however, reiterates that most of the initiatives are still pending and need to be finalised. It is our hope that the mechanisms including the above-mentioned will not just end in paper work. Such mechanisms should be afforded enough space and chance to execute what is expected from them. We also demand that there be improvements in the provision of other social services such as refuse collection, electricity and water supplies. Cholera and Typhoid outbreaks are disturbing and should not recur. On the other hand, there is need for investigations into the activities of the so called Chipangano group that in the year 2012 has become a menace to citizens in and around Harare. ZimRights registers its disappointment with the fracas that engulfed the start of the census mid- August. It is a pity that uniformed forces were implicated and on the wrong side for that matter, yet their duty is to maintain peace and order.

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