Statement by NYDT on International Peace Day

NYDT joins the rest of the world in commemorating International Day of peace under the theme Sustainable Peace For A Sustainable Future. As Zimbabwe commemorates this day, there is need to reflect on the peace initiatives that have been put in place and the changes these have brought to Zimbabweans, especially young people.

To date, Zimbabwe is yet to have a concrete legal framework that supports and legalises any peace building initiatives. The Organ on National Healing, Reconciliation and Integration (ONHRI) is currently operating without a specific mandate, disjointedly and in fear of victimization by law enforcement agents. As such, this has stifled its ability and potential to address past and present conflict related issues.

Young people, particularly from Matabeleland continue to bear the brunt of the mass killings of their parents, guardians, family and community members in the 1980s. Coupled with this, some have been battling with trauma as a result of bloody electoral periods since 2000. As talk of a general election in 2013 intensifies, cases of political violence are beginning to emerge as has been the trend since independence. The most affected as the main perpetrators and victims of such violence are young people.

It is against this background that as we celebrate world day of peace, the NYDT calls upon the government of Zimbabwe, politicians, civic society and youths to show recognition of the importance of building sustainable peace in Zimbabwe by:

Setting up a commission that will be the main body responsible for uncovering past injustices and providing platforms for both victims and perpetrators to tell the truth about their past experiences. This is based on the belief that a spirit of nation building in Zimbabwe cannot be achieved without a commonly acknowledged history and honest means of facing and dealing with the human rights violations that have dogged the nation since independence.

Finalising the legal framework for peace building national roadmap that clearly states the mandate of the Organ on National Healing, Reconciliation and Integration (ONHRI) so that it achieves its mandate of building sustainable peace in Zimbabwe.

Cessation of abuse of young people by political players and using them as pawns of perpetrating violence against their fellow citizens. Instead, political parties should partner with peace-building and conflict management actors and institutions in spreading the message of peace and tolerance amongst young people from various political backgrounds.

Putting an end to the structural violence that continues to haunt Zimbabweans in some regions of the country; bearing in mind that the effects are more dire for young men and women. The draft constitution remains an opportunity to address such and other injustices by the constitutionalisation of devolution of fiscal, political and administrative power. This would guard against marginalisation while making provisions for social and cultural harmony.

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