Village heads in Zaka are being tapped to help mend bridges in their communities by taking the lead in peace building initiatives.
It was discovered that tension between the traditional leaders themselves emanating from suspected differing political persuasions was splitting their respective people.
A peace club set up with the assistance of Heal Zimbabwe in Ward 24 of Zaka, carried out a conflict analysis of the area in the month of May and noted that bad relations among the traditional leaders in their area were hampering development and peace in the area.
To avert this, the peace club resolved to carry out collaborative neutral platforms for each village head in the area.
“Zaka Ward 24 is an example of a community where there were no good relations among traditional leaders with conflicts emanating from suspicion on political affiliation. This hampered prospects for peace and development as it greatly affected the coordination of food aid and other developmental projects in the area,” a statement from Heal Zimbabwe explained.
The peace club started by carrying out nhimbes at the homesteads of village heads who were badly affected by this conflict.
“At the nhimbe the peace club was helping harvesting of a late maize crop and the leaders attended. The peace club utilized the nhimbes as an opportunity to preach messages of peace and the importance of peaceful-co-existence in the area.”
According to Heal Zimbabwe the village heads engaged in fruitful dialogue where they also noted that building sound social relations was key for peace and development in the area.
One of the village heads, Mutunga, commended the peace efforts. ”Musakaruka peace club has done something commendable today, we are all here with our people working as one community and this shows that we can achieve anything”, he said.
A nhimbe is a neutral platform where people from diverse social-economic and political groupings come together to work as a community for the common good of their community or village. It also follows the traditional practice of bringing together people to work as one. Traditional leaders often have convening authority for such platforms.