With elections fast approaching and the prospects of violence real—churches, civil society organisations and the media have created a platform to promote peace and dialogue among political actors.

Under the theme “Peace and Journalism”, the Church and Civil Society Forum (CCSF) aims to create to create a dialogue platform, where media and actors from churches and CSOs are sharing information, create ideas and work hand in hand towards peace building.

Speaking to media practitioners in Harare on Thursday, Machinda Marongwe from the National Alliance of Nongovernmental Orgnanisations (Nango), which is spearheading the peace initiative, said journalists are vital in ensuring and promoting peace.

“The media plays a critical role in promoting peace and national healing and as we go towards elections we would like to encourage reporters to take the lead. Reporters should not use inflammatory language because this can result in deaths of people,” he said.

Giving examples of the Rwandan genocide of 1994, when close to a million Tutsi were killed by Hutu extremists, Marongwe said if the media inflammatory it can incite and fan violence at a national level.\

“CCSF is a coalition of the Church and CSOs working together to promote peace and violence prevention. The aim of the CCSF is to ensure that violence prevention is achieved through lobbying and influencing policy decisions with regards to the establishment of a fully functional healing framework,” said Marongwe.

Cognizant to the violence scourge that has rocked the country’s elections since independence in 1980 the coalition government crafted a constitution which establishes a national healing organ that is aimed at redressing pains of the past.

Marongwe who indicated that the CCSF has already met with political actors said the main activities of the coalition is to train community leaders, church and civil activists and policy makers.

“We would like to establish a violence early warning mechanism; policy dialogues at both national and community levels,” he said.

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