4-H Zimbabwe is on a mission to spread the message of peace and tolerance amongst political parties, particularly the youths ahead of the 2023 plebiscite.

Youths have been used as pawns in the political game by older and influential politicians wherein they are funded to inflict violence on people who hold different political views from theirs.

But 4-H Zimbabwe has embarked on a painstaking mission to put an end to this vice.

The organisation recently held a sports festival on Africa day in Harare and youths from five political parties namely Zanu PF, Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC), Front For Economic Emancipation (FEEZ), National Constitutional Assembly (NCA), MDC-T and LEAD.

Last weekend, the organisation took its peace-building initiative to Mashonaland Central province where it hosted a tournament at Westheim Farm in Muzarabani district.

“We are simply taking this to the community level especially in rural areas; if youths start to tolerate each other at the community level, we will have a peaceful nation,” said Muchenje.

“So, we are teaching them to tolerate one another despite political affiliation and also reminding them we are one despite differences in political affiliations.

“If you check, in all our tournaments we do not have an ultimate winner; we regard every participant as a winner. This is to unite and give no difference amongst our participants.”

Peace and conflict researcher Lazarus Sauti applauded 4-H’s initiative.

“Youths are at the periphery of political processes in Zimbabwe. They are not actively participating in political affairs due to several factors, including being symbolically annihilated by political elites,” said Sauti.

“The situation is worsened by unemployment. The youth are inactive and are thus used by politicians to perpetrate political and electoral violence in the country.

“Consequently, using sports as a peacebuilding tool is a welcome mechanism. The idea is to engage and conscientise them about nonviolence and coexistence.”

Sauti added that there were many other peace-building techniques that 4-H could use.

“Music is a language that knows no boundaries. It can be very effective in peace-making processes. Resources permitting, it can as well start projects that empower youth and lift them from inactivity as well as abject poverty,” he said.

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