The Methodist Church of Zimbabwe is hard at work conducting Youth Resilience Training. With the 2018 election fast approaching, a major focus of the most recent Marondera and Gweru training have been around peaceful political participation.
61 young women and 49 young men participated in the most recent Youth Resilience Training. Bishop Tawanda Sungai addressed the youth regarding their duties as Christians in peacemaking:
“He started by indicating on the beatitude that says “blessed are the peacemakers for they shall see God”. He emphasized that as children of God and for us to see God we have to be peacemakers. Elections being around the corner it is the duty of the children of God to pray for peace, participate in elections peacefully, never be used as agents of violence.”
In Zimbabwe, youth are often targeted by political groups as agents of violence and intimidation. With astronomically high youth unemployment rates, they are particularly susceptible to offers to be perpetrators of violence. The 100 youth who attended the training will now be actively working against this risk. They are equipped with a message of peaceful political engagement and they are spreading it far and wide.
There has been a history of violence in past election years. Our partners have indicated that while there is some increased tension, there hasn’t been the same level of violence as seen in the past. The MCZ will continue to work towards peaceful elections through youth training, voter education, and advocating for peace.