YOUTHS from across the country’s political divide, churches and universities have been encouraged to commit themselves to a violence-free environment ahead of next year’s harmonised elections.
Speaking during a youth stakeholders’ peace meeting in Bulawayo over the weekend, director of a non-profit making and peace organisation, 4-H Zimbabwe, John Muchenje said youths should shun violence, but rather be torch-bearers towards national prosperity.
4-H Zimbabwe is a non-profit making organisation premised around empowering youths to be responsible, caring and contributing leaders that effect positive change in the world around them.
Muchenje said as the nation moves towards elections his organisation’s mission was to advocate for peace and tolerance among the youths.
He encouraged youths, particularly student leaders at universities and colleges to come together to promote peace among other young people in Zimbabwe.
“We are working with youths from across the country’s political divide, churches and universities in dialoguing on issues that affect them and political violence is coming out as the major concern.
“We want them to encourage other young people not to be agents of violence and discourage them from engaging in violent acts. We have also extended our reach to the students in Zimbabwe where we want to bring all the students under one roof and create a platform where all those issues affecting the students will be discussed,” said Muchenje.
He said he was encouraging them to push and promote peace and tolerance at all universities in Zimbabwe.
“We need them to practice positive student activism, clean politics at students level before they go into mainstream politics where they will appreciate the importance and essence of clean politics in our country,” said Muchenje.
He said as an organisation they had realised that there was no development without peace.
“As an organisation we realised that peace is a fundamental value that needs to be there before we start talking about development and about nation building. We are also using sport as a tool to promote peace in our country,” he said.
Speaking at the same event, Parliamentary Youth Caucus Chair Tatenda Mavetera hailed the peace initiative by 4-H Zimbabwe saying it was the best way towards attaining a violence-free election next year.
“This form of dialogue is vital among youths as it cultivates the spirit of peace and oneness. The youths who are leaders of tomorrow need to understand that politics is just a platform for them to choose leaders, not a situation where they need to fight in order to get into those positions,” said Mavetera.