Source: War vets preach ‘no-violence’ ahead of 2018 election – NewsDay Zimbabwe June 16, 2017
WAR veterans have initiated a peace campaign aimed at assuring communities across the country that their members will not be involved in any politically-motivated violence in next year’s elections.
BY OBEY MANAYITI
Led by Wilfred Marimo, Maxwell Takawira and Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association national executive member Abraham Tsikwa, the former freedom fighters said they wanted to restore their legacy to the 1980 point when they brought about the country’s independence.
Since the bloody land reform programme in early 2000, war veterans have been accused of leading violent campaigns against members of the opposition.
“In the communities that we come from, war veterans are viewed as tools of violence, disturbances and hate language. When the war ended, some war veterans were not cleansed and they carried their war behaviour to up to the present,” Marimo said.
“Therefore, we want to retrace that good relationship that we used to have with communities. We accept that some of our members have been causing disturbances and that needs to change. We will be meeting war veterans, chiefs, headmen and ordinary members to demystify this.”
He added: “As we approach elections, it is important for war veterans to know that their role is to promote peace.
We don’t want to hear of incidents of violence and we want to take a leading role in promoting peace and reconciliation.”
So far, they have covered Mutoko, Uzumba-Maramba-Pfungwe, Hwedza, Kadoma, Sanyati, Gokwe and Gweru.
Tsikwa said they had the blessings of their parent organisation and hoped communities would embrace their message.
He said it was important for everyone to accept that people could co-exist peacefully in a particular village with different views on political ideologies.
In their campaigning material, the group said their overall objective was to safeguard the ideals of the liberation struggle and promote the legacy of all war veterans by preaching peace and reconciliation.
“We fought the liberation struggle, earned our freedom and independence through intense fighting, for which we must continue jealously safeguarding our country’s independence and protecting the masses we liberated,” one of the peace messages being distributed to communities read.
“By claiming the eight points of attention that we learnt during the liberation struggle, we can promote peace and the much cherished ideals of our liberation struggle.”