Vice President Kembo Mohadi says the country needs to resort to traditional and cultural approaches to help promote peace and resolve internal conflicts.
The VP made the remarks during a meeting with Matabeleland North chiefs in Bulawayo Thursday, which sought to explore peaceful traditional methods of peace building and resolving conflict.
“This was a very crucial programme that I am engaged in as consulting and involving all chiefs in their areas of jurisdiction on how to build and sustain peace in our country as well as how to resolve conflicts that arose from time to time,” he said.
Mohadi said he had come to engage the traditional leaders by having a candid and forthright dialogue.
“Chiefs are the custodians of our traditions and culture, our constitution recognises that role. It affirms what we knew as the functions of chiefs in our culture. They uphold and preserve our cultural norms and values and resolve conflicts in their communities in order to preserve and promote peace amongst our people.
“It is for this reason that I have taken it upon myself within the mandate assigned to me by President Mnangagwa of promoting peace in our country that I am engaging our traditional leaders nationally in this important dialogue of peacebuilding and conflict resolution,” he said.
This is the second meeting the VP has held with chiefs, as he first met traditional leaders from Mashonaland Central.
The meeting was attended by chiefs from Binga, Hwange, Tsholotsho, Nkayi, Lupane, Umguza and Bubi.
Ntabazinduna Chief Ndiweni who has been at loggerheads with the government was snubbed by Mohadi.
“I have come to find out and discuss with you our traditional leaders, our cultural ways of creating and preserving peace in individuals, families, communities and the nation.
“By making our cultural approach the foundation of our peace building architecture I am not ignoring or playing down other institutions that are involved in peace building and conflict resolution like the church, civil society and constitutional commissions,” Mohadi noted.
He highlighted that chiefs can play this critical role of peace building and conflict resolution if they were men and women of integrity and high moral and ethical values.
“I am aware that we have a good number of our chiefs who are young. However, if they follow the traditional values of their ancestors, they will be able to learn the respect of their people even in their youth.
“However our young chiefs should realise that they have the challenge of earning the respect of their people they should also know that wisdom comes with age and experience,” said VP Mohadi.
Having said that the VP insisted he had come to learn how to build sustainable peace in the country and conceded that the country had suffered knockbacks due to previous conflicts.
“There are conflicts of the past that make peace building difficult – the precolonial days, colonial days, liberation struggle and post liberation. What are these conflicts of the past in Matabeleland North and how can we resolve them according to our culture in order for our people to leave in peace and harmony. Let us engage in a constructive discussion so as to come up with ways to resolve these conflicts in order for our nation to move forward,” he noted.
“If our past is separating us, let us work to resolve that, there is a local saying that goes Kuyakhumiswana umlotha, we have to bury the past.”