Ecumenical Peace Observation Initiative in Zimbabwe, a program by Heads of Christian Denominations, has launched peace celebrations in Karoi.

Speaking during the launch of the peace celebrations on Saturday Ecumenical Peace Observation Initiative in Zimbabwe, director Tendai Maregere said there is need to maintain a peaceful environment in Zimbabwe regardless of challenges faced.

“Last year, churches under the umbrella bodies of Zimbabwe Council of Churches, Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe, Catholic Bishops Conference and the Union of Development of Apostolic and Zionist Churches in Zimbabwe started peaceful approach to end violence that gripped the country during 2008 elections when we faced social, political and economic crisis.

“We understand that peace promotes development and we call upon everyone to build a culture of peace. We are happy that 2013 elections were peaceful and we must remain committed to a better country enjoying harmony’’ said Maregere.

Hurungwe district administrator Tsana Chirau bemoaned the low turnout during the celebrations in Karoi town about 204 kilometers north-west of Harare saying it is unfortunate that the event was trivialized.

Gwendoline Chikaka, who spoke on behalf of Chirau, called on other stakeholders to take part in peace celebrations in future.

‘’This program is meant for Hurungwe and Zimbabwe at large. We want to build peace in our homes and in communities. Hurungwe must preach peace.

“It is a challenge for few of us who attended these celebrations to preach peace and spread the gospel wherever we go. I am saddened by poor turnout but we hope next year we will prepare to get more people coming from all over the district,’’ said Chirau.

Tendayi Bobo, EPOIZ research and advocacy officer, said the celebrations will take place in country’s seven provinces.

“These provinces have been selected due to conflicts experienced in the past and the continuous engagement to a climate of tolerance and peaceful co-existence.”

The peace celebrations are held under the theme, “Building the Zimbabwe we want in faith, hope, and unity”.

The celebrations will be held in Bvekerwa (Rusape in Manicaland) on 19 September, Hwange (Matabeleland North) on 25 September, Gokwe Central in Midlands on 27 September, Bikita in Masvingo on 30 September and Bulawayo on 4 October before coming to Harare on 9 October.

Tsaurai Mukombwe who attended the celebrations hailed EPOIZ for the programme. “I am glad that we have churches that still preach the gospel of peace when many others are concentrating on the gospel of prosperity. We really need peace in Zimbabwe,” she said