17 June 2012

Zimbabwe: Bulawayo Agenda Organises Peace Concert for Lupane

Bulawayo — A peace prayer musical concert has been set for rural Lupane in Matabeleland North province next week to warn villagers against being used by political parties to lead violence against rival party supporters, especially during elections. The concert will be held in Gomoza, an area that was last year described by civic groups and the MDC formations as hostile due to harassments, beatings and arrests of their supporters.

Organised by a local civic group, Bulawayo Agenda, the concert aims to seek God's intervention ahead of a referendum and elections scheduled for this year or in 2013.

All political parties, churches and the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee (Jomic) are expected to attend the concert.

Bulawayo Agenda executive director Thabani Nyoni said the concert was a peace building initiative among villagers and political parties after noticing that the organ on national healing and reconciliation had failed to embark on sustainable peace programmes.

"We are targeting mainly the youth who are usually used by political parties to lead violent activities against their opponents," said Nyoni. "We are taking this concert to Gomoza in Lupane out of realisation that most peace building initiatives, meetings or campaigns were held in towns instead of rural communities that continue to bear the brunt of political violence."

Nyoni said the prayers were a follow-up to the Peace Indaba that was held last year in Harare by the Global Political Agreement (GPA) principals, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, President Robert Mugabe and Welshman Ncube.

Bulawayo churches recently held a similar peace prayer meeting early last month that was graced by South African gospel artists.

But Zanu PF snubbed the event, saying it's a campaign platform for the MDC formations raising concerns about its sincerity about its calls for its supporters to shun violence.

The Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) and the Zimbabwe Elections Support Network (ZESN) recently said political tolerance was still very low in the country.

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