Today was just another day, with members of the ZOUDPN (Development Practitioners Network) Club joining the whole world in the 5th Annual commemoration of the Declaration of World peace. As we stood in the symbolic shadows of our forefathers who envisioned and brought into manifest a free, sovereign and Independent continent of Africa, we felt it an obligation and our responsibility to act for an Africa we want and deserve.

As an Academic club that seeks to bridge the gap between the Classroom and the outside world, today we demonstrated our dedication and commitment in working for the common goal of peace, guided by the Declaration of Peace & Cessation of War (DPCW) a new legal instrument seeking to promote a conflict free world.

The Declaration of Peace & Cessation of war (DPCW) is such a momentous decree that has come as a beacon light of hope to millions of people particularly from this part of the world. It urges for shared efforts of all members of society, calling for individuals to work as peace messengers. Many debates that have been conducted in the various public foras focuses on ending political violence and war as the roadmap to achieving peace. However with our understanding of the diverse nature of the world we live in today, we have come to a conclusion that, even though we may have been spurred the full flavor of war and armed conflict over the past years, peace remains an ever topical issue, taking into cognisence the changing nature of realities that are making it hard for people in the world to enjoy being at peace.

As long as there are still diverse issues of child marriages, tribalism, gender violence, domestic violence, hate speech, cyber bullying among many other issues, we will always bear the responsibility to see to it that messages of peace are conveyed to reach all corners of society to build a genuine and sustainable culture of peace.

Peace as postulated by many great leaders, including the late President Kennedy of the United States, is one of the most important topics on earth. In his 1963 address at the American University, President Kennedy said, “what kind of peace do i mean & what kind of peace do we seek”, he further went on to mention that ” its not the peace of the grave, or the security of the slave, i am talking about genuine peace, the kind of peace that makes life on earth worth living, not only peace in our time, but peace at all time”.

In the academic fraternity, we intellectualise, philosophise and moralise the issues of peace, today i submit to you that if we are to build genuine peace in our society, our approach has got to be practical, starting with valuing each other as individuals, paying due respect to others regardless of gender, race, tribe, age or any difference that may exist in society.

More often, many societies that have endured vicious ravaging and rampaging blows of conflict are plunged in such precarious situations due to their failure to confront their past when they look back, instead of learning from their errors, some groups seek relevence (political or ethnic) by uncovering those past wounds. In as much as i believe in reconciliation and healing, i also believe that societies must not allow themselves to be held hostage by their past, but should learn from it and craft a road map towards the achievement of Sustainable Development with which Peace is one of the goals as enshrined in the SDGs, goal 16.

I remember one of the most profound statements of the late Father Zimbabwe, Dr Joshua Nkomoh in 1987 during the signing of the Unit Accord when he said, “History has taken us this far, but it is our responsibility to become better”. His voice still echoes in my ears and from that profound decree, i learned that we should always preoccupy ourselves with forecasting and configuring the future and not the past. We all have a past but it should not hinder us from realising peace in the present and the future.

The road to Sustainability by 2030 and that of delivering the “Africa we want” through Agenda 2063 is a mammoth task that requires collective efforts from across all dimensions of society. As ZOU – DPN Club, we have fully pledged to join hands in partnerships and collaborations with other Organisations that seek to set our society on the tragectory of “leaving no one behind” in pursuit of the seventeen ambitious SDGs adopted by UN member states in 2015. Today we are happy to have joined with IPYG, ZUNA and many other compatriots from the civil society as well as the academia in what will go down in history as one of the memorable moments for the young men and women of Africa who partook in the just ended Peace walk from Harare’s Town House to Harare Gardens.

As concluding remarks let me say that, to live peacefully we must learn to tolerate others, settle our grievances and differences peacefully. Meanwhile effacing prejudice from the minds of our young men and women, boys and girls can be the first step towards building a culture of genuine and sustainable peace. Peace for all generations.

Let me at this juncture take off my hat for my fellow colleagues in the ZOU-DPN Club who made the march a success through their participation and more importantly their sacrifice in time and resources. I am also very grateful to my colleagues in the SRC – ZOU Harare for supporting our club from its time of inception through to this event. May you all continue to support dreams that can make us realise the ZOU we want.

To the entire students community at ZOU, we say, “in as much as Zimbabwe is Open for Business, DPN Club is open for business”, feel free to come and join us to participate in our various Club events and activities.

#Take your Passion & Compassion and lets create the ZOU we want!

From *D.P Mbizvo’s* desk

(DPN Club – President)

SRC secretary for Legal & Academic Affairs (ZOU Hre Region).

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