CHIEFS have a big role to play in peace building and conflict resolution in their communities to promote family values and facilitate development, Vice President Kembo Mohadi has said.
Addressing chiefs from Matabeleland North during a meeting in Bulawayo yesterday, VP Mohadi, who is responsible for national healing and reconciliation, said the role of traditional leaders is vital and recognised by the Constitution.
VP Mohadi’s meeting was part of his countrywide tour to meet chiefs and discuss how to build and sustain peace in the country.
Issues discussed included how the Gukurahundi issue could be resolved, improving the welfare of traditional leaders and drought in the country.
“Chiefs should guide us in resolving conflicts in their communities so that their people live in peace and harmony, in accordance with customary law. They should promote and uphold cultural values of their communities and in particular to promote sound family values.
“Chiefs also preserve culture, traditions, history and heritage of their communities, including sacred shrines. They also play a role in facilitating development,” said VP Mohadi.
“This is the second meeting I am holding with chiefs in the provinces, having held the first one in Mashonaland Central last month.
“This is a crucial programme that I am engaged in, consulting and involving all chiefs in their areas of jurisdiction on how to build and sustain peace in our country.”
VP Mohadi said it was important for him to engage traditional leaders in a candid and forthright dialogue on peace-building and conflict resolution in the country because they were the custodians of traditions and culture.
“By making our cultural approach the foundation of our peace-building architecture, I’m not ignoring or playing down other institutions that are involved in peace building and conflict resolution like the church, civic society and constitutional commissions.
“However, these other institutions complement this fundamental cultural approach to peace-building and conflict resolution,” said VP Mohadi.
The VP challenged young chiefs to follow traditional values so that they earn the respect of their people.
“I’m aware that we have a good number of our chiefs who are young. They should realise that they have a challenge of earning the respect of their people. They should also know that wisdom comes with age and experience,” said VP Mohadi.