A pupil at Chikhovo Primary School in
Chiredzi, opens the gate while a goat
looks on. The opening of schools in
October was marked by chaos as
government failed to provide adequate
PPE and teachers remained on strike]

There was an unfettered spirit of unity on 29 September
when the Zimbabwe Peace Project hosted a dialogue in
Chilonga, Chiredzi South.
Participating in the dialogue were key community leaders
that included village heads, councillors, representatives from
the police, health, education, other local based
organisations and women and men from the surrounding
villages. The platform provided a rare space for community
members to air their human rights related challenges, and
get immediate feedback from the various office holders
present. Key among the issues discussed was the troubling
trend of increased cases of child marriages.
A representative from the police expressed commitment
that they will work more closely with the community
members, health officials and traditional leaders in reducing
child marriages through awareness raising and collaborative
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 2: “We
have community members, who no
longer go for social welfare services.
“This is because whether they attend
or not, none will recognise them
because they are opposition.
“When will our time come where
everyone shall be recognised as a
citizen beyond politics? Being MDC
Alliance remains my right.”
Perennial
hunger
and
water
shortages stalk Binga and the ZPP,
which holds community peacebuilding initiatives in the area,
expressed
concern
over
the
continued vulnerability of the people
in the area.
The COVID-19 pandemic has made
life worse for the people in Binga as
they
have
faced
harassment,

efforts.
Traditional leaders were cited as playing a key role in
facilitating access to communities for stakeholders aiming
to address child marriage issues." Traditional leaders have
great influence on their communities and they must use that
to influence positive change towards ending child
marriages, among other social ills, " said one community
member.
Above all, the community members resolved that they
needed to set aside their cultural and political differences to
work towards the betterment of their society. ZPP heard
stories of how village heads, community members (ZPP
Community Ambassadors), the police and health officials
have collaborated to rescue children trapped in child
marriages following ZPP's past awareness campaigns in the
area.

intimidation and assault by the
security forces deployed in the area
and they have had to contend with
what they call partisan police officers
who abuse them in the name of the
ruling Zanu PF.
“How do I report any human rights
abuse to a police officer or a public
officer who I always see wearing
Zanu PF regalia?”
“It’s obvious when I report to them
about being violated by their
colleagues from Zanu PF, they will
surely undermine my right and tell
me to go away, or they will further
abuse me,” said a community
member, who was part of a ZPP
Community Dialogue held this
month.
“It is within their right that the

people of Binga preserve their
language, culture, values and norms,
and government should respect that
and enhance it by ensuring
educational materials in Tonga
language are made available.
“Tonga is one of the sixteen national
languages and government should
prioritise mainstreaming it and
ensuring that Tonga people also get
access to higher education to enable
them
to
contribute
to
the
development of their communities,”
added Mukoko.
ZPP calls on government to be
cognisant of the fact that sustainable
peace is built through the provision
of necessary social services, in
addition to respecting the human
rights of the people of Zimbabwe

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