Christian Alliance, a non-governmental organisation, has initiated peace awareness campaign targeted at youths to instill tolerance as the nation hurtles towards the crunch harmonised elections.

Christian Alliance, Church and Civil Society Forum (CCSF) is working with the Organ on National Healing and Reconciliation ONHR and the Joint Monitoring, Implementation Committee JOMIC to foster peace in communities which were ravaged by violence in the 2008 elections when youths were deployed by political parties to perpetrate violence.

Acting Director for Christian Alliance, Josphat Amuli said youths are normally used as pawns in politics because of idleness, therefore his organisation identified need to educate them.

“Youths were used to perpetrate violence in this area and we attribute that to idleness. This area is a hub of people of different political affiliations which fuels conflict. We are therefore urging youths to manage conflict amicably,” Amuli told RelZim during a Sport for Peace day held in Esipezini on Saturday. 

Still nursing memories of the 2008 election violence, Matabeleland is in great need of peace and reconciliation.

Amuli implored church leaders to preach the message of peace in various churches, whilst remaining apolitical.

“We are not oblivious of the fact that there are people who have clandestinely used the church to push their political agendas. But the church should remain apolitical,” he added.

In 2008 most youths engaged in senseless violence fanned by politicians as political parties jostled for supremacy.

Zanu PF youth militia groups allegedly terrorised villagers in Plumtree under a campaign programme dubbed Mana Uqonde (Stand Upright) with connotations that Zanu PF is the only party to vote for.

CCSF, Senior Programme Officer, Conflict Prevention and Peace Building, Nomaqhawe Gwere said sport was a unifier, bringing youths together. 

“Sport unifies and breaks barriers. And this program is meant to bring youths into dialogue and find solutions to resolve disputes,” Gwere said

“Sport eases tension at a social level, hence it curtails rivalry tendencies,” added.

CCSF is also engaging communities in behaviour change through sports tournaments, capacity building workshops and teaching violence prevention mechanisms which are crucial for violence-free elections.

The Sports for peace brought together youths from 7 wards that battled for honours in football and netball competitions.

See related reading:

Vice President Mujuru urges church leaders to promote peace 

Churches pray for peace