Youth Forum : Initiatives on Peace among Youths Commendable

The recent initiatives by different players to bring peace and tolerance amongst young men and women of Zimbabwe is commendable as it is has been long overdue and looks at addressing the issue on the main actors in this delinquent. This follows recent separate and independent efforts by Silveira House Jesuit Social Justice and Development Centre and the Zimbabwe Youth Council (ZYC) in Chishawasha and Chinhoyi respectively to bring together youths from different political ideologies to work together peacefully for the development of our country and above all, for the betterment of the youths of Zimbabwe.

Silveira House Jesuit Social Justice and Development Centre last week facilitated a workshop for youths from different political parties on peace-building and conflict management which brought together 35 youth leaders from the country's 10 provinces. The training was conducted with the aim of capacitating youths to appreciate and promote good leadership, peace-building and conflict management within and across the political divide. At the end of the workshop, youths from the countries different political parties showed solidarity in working together to bring peace and tolerance to their respective constituencies.

Zimbabwe Youth Council also held a Peace Pact signing ceremony on 29 June 2012 in Chinhoyi. In attendance were the Junior President and over 100 young people from all political parties along with their provincial youth leaders. On the ceremony was a unanimous agreement that peace was a necessity and young people needed not to be abused by senior politicians, instead young people must also take to stand as councillors and MPs.   The event saw the three parties signing a Peace Pact that will be distributed across the province, according to the ZYC website.

These efforts are commendable and follow on efforts by other players like the Youth Forum, which also undertook efforts aimed at peace building, tolerance and reconciliation after the 2008 election violence. The successful Youth Forum program saw youths from different political parties coming together and denouncing violence and promising to work together and differ peacefully. To date, participants in this program have never been involved in such heinous acts again.

Such efforts needs to be followed by commitment to the same efforts from senior politicians who have been fingered in sponsoring this cancer in our society, allowing the law enforcement agents and the courts of justice perform their duty in stopping cases of politically motivated violence, candid undertaking by political parties to internally deal with individuals involved in the violence as well as the economic empowerment of Zimbabwe's young men and women as poverty has been proven to be a leading fuel for politically motivated violence.

The Youth Forum, as a non-partisan youth organization, believes youths of Zimbabwe should realise that what unites us is bigger than that which divides us. Young people, regardless of political affiliation, face the same problems ranging from poverty, marginalisation, exclusion from developmental processes, economic disenfranchisement down to deadly diseases and an unaffordable education system; it is these problems that young people need to fight for their addressing in the different spaces they occupy in their different political parties, and not fight each other.


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