MBERENGWA-Centre for Conflict Management and Transformation (CCMT) held Peace Day celebrations on Wednesday 21 September 2022 at Vanguard community known for violence, illicit traders and unruly artisanal miners.

CCMT is a non-governmental organization that works to transform the ways in which society deals with conflict, away from adversarial approaches and towards collaborative problem-solving.

 The celebrations were in line with the declaration by the UN General Assembly as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, through observing 24hours of non-violence and cease-fire.

 Although the UN theme for this year’s celebrations is ‘End Racism and Build Peace’, CCMT’s theme is ‘Fostering sustainable peace and development through dialogue’.

CCMT empasises that there can be no development without peace, and there is no peace without development.

“Vanguard was a dysfunctional community, a volatile place, free to all and a boon of gold induced chaos, crime infested area and was also a safe haven for all kinds of criminals.

“The Government came up with an initiative to regularise all social amenities that became dysfunctional and the Council is in the process of turning it into a planned settlement,” said Mberengwa Rural District Council acting CEO Percy Mwedzi.

Chairman Patson Chitoro and vice chairman Owen Tonga of Vanguard compound community both confirmed that there was a dispute between residents and Mberengwa RDC.

 They accused Council of not doing anything for the residents yet they want to take over their houses and claim debts accrued on service fees as well.

“Council wanted to evict us but we resisted. Council wanted us to pay rent yet they were not providing any service to the residents.

“We have our own community school which we built without any assistance from the Council. If MRDC wants to work with us they should provide the same services that they provide to other business centres. We are prepared to work with the Council as long as they take on board our grievances and issue us with shop licences and title deeds for our houses,” said Tonga.

Chitoro added that it was their pleasure that such an event was held in their community with the tree planting spicing up the event for peace building between the two feuding parties.

“We are happy today to be holding such an event and as H.E. President Mnangagwa has said , ‘Nyika inovakwa navene vayo’ I say to to ‘End conflicts and built Vanguard’. Noone will be evicted from their place of residents and this place will be developed through prope planning by the Council,’ said the District development Coordinator, Vafios Hlabati.

Xavier Mudangwe, CCMT director applauded MRDC for involving them in the process of regularising Vanguard community.

“As CCMT we were particularly impressed by how the community (as represented by the development and residents committees), Government, MRDC and traditional leaders embraced conflict transformation processes spearheaded by CCMT.

“This a sign of the commitment by the community to peace ideals which we believe helps the community to prosper hence we decided to hold the celebrations here,

“We decided to celebrate this day through sport, planting of trees as symbols for peace in the community, from this day, as the trees grow, peace ideals will be strengthened in our hearts, minds and souls and will serve as reminder of the need to turn conflict into opportunities for positive change,” remarked Mudangwe.Caption: Community chairman Patson Chitoro in scarf, CCMT director Xavier Mudangwe in blue cap, Mberengwa DDC with Red tie Vafios Hlabati and MRDC Acting CEO Percy Mwedzi with scotchef shirt and other stakeholders ready for tree planting at Vanguard primary school

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