The National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) has formed a Provincial Peace Committee (PPC) in Matabeleland South Province, a structure that is expected to facilitate dialogue within communities in order to achieve peace.

Stakeholders in Matabeleland South province where requested by the NPRC during a meeting in Gwanda to identify areas that have fuelled conflict and how best these can be addressed in order to attain peace and move the country  forward.

There was consensus among representatives of various organisations that the underdevelopment of the region, tribalism, unfair distribution of local resources such as gold claims and land, lack of access to primary documents as well as the emotive Gukurahundi issue have left many feeling angry, hopeless and frustrated.

“Most of the people here are not benefiting from their God given resources. Land has in most cases been allocated to people who do not even come here. In Esigodini we have tribal war in the mining sector with some calling themselves Amankayi and others Amashurugwi. All these problems need to be addressed,” said some of the stakeholders.

The new political dispensation has, however, encouraged people to talk about these issues openly and frankly in order to attain peace in the country.

To help in this process will be the PPC to be chaired by Commissioner Leslie Ncube and deputised by Pastor Siphathisiwe Dube and Ms Sakhile Ndlovu.

“This team is a team that is going to bring results. At the provincial level we will be dealing with policy but the real work will be done by team in districts. We need to bring results, we need to ensure that when we feed into the national grid we are coming up with a reconciled nation,” said Commissioner Dube.

In a speech read on his behalf by Deputy Director in Minister of State for Provincial Affairs in Matabeleland South Cde Abednico Ncube’s office, Mrs Leona Ndou, the setting up of the committee is in line with the devolution agenda which seeks to give locals the power to solve their own problems.

“This committee is in line with the desire to ensure that we facilitate an infrastructure to address conflict in our province so that we transit in Zimbabwe from conflictual past to a sustainable, harmonious and peaceful society through generations,” he said.

The committee will comprise representatives from academia, the church and faith based political parties represented in Parliament, women and youth organisations, traditional leaders, people living with disabilities and war veterans among others.

District peace committees which are already in existence will be expected to work with the provincial structure to ensure that past and present conflicts are resolved and potential triggers of conflict in Matabeleland South are contained.