Building Lasting Peace, One Block at a Time
In the lead up to the 2018 harmonised elections in Zimbabwe, the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) launched its national campaign for peace and reconciliation - #BuildingBlocks4Peace campaign with two objectives: to strengthen commitment to credible and peaceful elections; and to mobilise commitment for peaceful elections from presidential candidates from all political parties before, during and after elections.
The campaign seeks to shift mindsets to recognise that all citizens have a shared responsibility towards peace and reconciliation; gather the different narratives of the past and present; enable citizens to become active participants in the processes and journey of peace for Zimbabwe while creating a pathway for future generations; and for citizens to recognise that peace is a public good that sets foundation for national development.
The Political Parties Peace Pledge
A key component of the campaign strategy was the historic Peace Pledge, signed on 26 June 2018 by 22 candidates contesting for the presidency.
The parties committed towards a peaceful election environment and adherence to the Electoral Code of Conduct for Political Parties and Candidates, as contained in the Electoral Amendment Act.
The Peace Pledge, through its eleven key commitments under the Electoral Code of Conduct for Political Parties and Candidates, sets outs an agreement and a commitment by political parties to ensure and above all take responsibility in all party structures for maintaining peace during electoral processes.
Many Zimbabweans and election observers made reference to adherence to the Peace Pledge when unrest took place in Harare after the elections.
The Peace Caravan
Following the signing of the Peace Pledge, political parties through the constitutionally set-up Multi-party Liaison Committees (MPLC) and in partnership with the NPRC embarked on a nationwide roll-out of the Peace Pledge. The NPRC worked with the creative arts and culture sector, launched a 9-day national Peace Caravan through road shows in Zimbabwe’s ten provinces.
Using drama, poetry, comedy and music the Peace Caravan reached over 20 000 people, including media support in the form of radio interviews throughout the duration of the Caravan.
The caravan benefited from the inclusion of stakeholders from the broader peace architecture — such as the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) and civil society organisations (CSOs) who helped disseminate peace messages. For the NPRC, the Caravan gave opportunity for visibility and sensitisation of the Commission’s work and role in electoral processes and how peace and reconciliation for Zimbabwe remains an integral foundation block in national development.
Visualising the #BuildingBlocks4Peace
A set of 80 values and aspirations where carefully selected to symbolise the pieces that each Zimbabwean could bring to build a foundation for lasting peace and reconciliation. These 80 values were brought to life as physical blocks that accompanied the campaign at the Peace Pledge signing, on the country-wide Peace Caravan tour and online on social media.
On social media, the NPRC triggered critical conversations on the individual’s contributions to the peace in the country.
UNDP Zimbabwe is supporting the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission towards its vision towards a peaceful Zimbabwe for all generations. Through the Deepening the Foundations for Peace, Dialogue & Social Cohesion programme, UNDP worked with the NPRC, in partnership with The Culture Trust of Zimbabwe Trust to develop and execute the #BuildingBlocks4Peace campaign online and across the country. UNDP and the Embassy of Switzerland in Zimbabwe worked with the NPRC on the signing of the historic Peace Pledge.