BY LORRAINE MUROMO
POLITICAL polarisation is on the increase, threatening to destroy social cohesion in the country, as well as disrupt efforts towards peace and reconciliation.
This came out during a recent virtual discussion organised by the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) and Heal Zimbabwe on the topic Social Cohesion Dialogues.
Participants pointed out that Zimbabweans were evidently divided politically, which affected policy decisions made by government ministries, departments and agencies, including issues of service delivery by local government and non-governmental organisations (NGOs), churches, burial societies, and even village development committees.
In a statement yesterday, Heal Zimbabwe said the growing divisions in the country had generated questions on what defines nationalistic, patriotic identity and culture of Zimbabweans. Polarity has also been accused of obstructing social cohesion and building of national unity.
“Arguably, political parties become a critical and necessary evil impeding the pursuit of a cohered State,” the statement read.
“Political parties compete for State power and in the process, polarise communities and institutions, foment violence, perpetuate gross human rights violations, and leave societies politically charged, seething with anger and intolerance of political diversity.
“In principle, however, political participation and mobilisation should promote a sense of patriotism, national pride, and competitive unity of purpose.”
Edknowledge Mandikwaza, the Heal Zimbabwe Trust programmes manager said although war veterans played a vital role in liberating the country, their role in post-independent Zimbabwe was still to be realised.
“War veterans are a vital societal cog that brought invaluable freedom to Zimbabwe, but their role in social cohesion building in post-independent Zimbabwe is yet to be realised or rather activated,” Mandikwaza said.
“At present, the majority of our heroic war veterans need rehabilitation and healing to transition them from the war mode towards becoming peace entrepreneurs. A common Zimbabwean encounter with war veterans finds them stuck in the liberation war struggle rhetoric, intimidation and at the extreme perpetration of violence,” he said.