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Community decries increasing drug abuse among youths..as new book on peace building is launched

The book was authored under the Masakhaneni Project Trust in collaboration with the community's traditional leaders under Chief Fuyane in Matobo. 

Prominent Bulawayo lawyer Josphat Tshuma, who is also the Masakhaneni Project Trust board chairperson, says the country is losing a whole generation to drugs and substance abuse, a development he blamed for escalating violation of peace and increase in gender-based violence.

Tshuma made the remarks in Bulawayo recently during the launch of the Matobo-generated book authored by a public policy expert, academic and politician, Samukele Hadebe titled: Community Peacebuilding in Matobo.

Hadebe is also leader of the Freedom Alliance political party.

The book was authored under the Masakhaneni Project Trust in collaboration with the community's traditional leaders under Chief Fuyane in Matobo. 

It seeks to restore communities’ capacity and resilience in building peace and tolerance of diversity.

The approach to the issues of community problems as depicted in the book stems from the background of violent massacres of civilians that spread from Matabeleland to Midlands in the 1980s and the Bhalagwe Military base, where many people were killed during Gukurahundi remains a sign of how atrocities were committed, hence the need for community peace building in areas that still linger in the scars of the past.

The book also documents various activities conducted by the communities in efforts to build peace among community members.

Tshuma hailed the book as a positive development not only for Matobo Community, Matabeleland South alone but for the whole country in that it seeks to encourage peace-making and building.

"Peace building is not a small or easy thing and this book demonstrates it. People quarrel because they do not understand each other,” Tshuma said.

“Someone assaults a spouse, is that our religion? Is that our culture? Where is this disease coming from? This is what we need to deal with. Only when you understand that you are not going to beat up your husband, you are not going to beat up your wife.

 "You are going to use other means that are correct to deal with the issue to live in harmony.

"There is a disease that is happening these days.

“There is this substance called Njengu that has captured our youth these days. We are losing a generation of people due to this. That is an illness among us.

“This is because a young man after taking the drug, he picks an axe and axes someone, he picks an axe and hunts for political opponents.

“We also fight during food aid distribution, where is this coming from?”

Tshuma said even in ancient times, people drank beer but they were responsible.

He said there was no community that develops when there is no peace.

He said he read a newspaper article about one of the Scandinavian countries indicating that many jails were closing because there were no criminals. He said that was the dream that people of Zimbabwe have to see a nation with no crime.

Hadebe, said the book was generated from the views of the Matobo community together with their traditional leaders.

He said the book was aimed at marking transformation in terms of building peace in the community considering that people in the area had gone through many phases of conflict starting from the liberation war, Gukurahundi, political conflicts to domestic conflicts.

“People are in conflict on political, social and economic grounds. All this is conflict. These have resulted in lack of development and according to the information from the community they relate on the reasons for failed development,” Hadebe said.

He said the book carries various voices in the community and it is not that all the voices are agreeing on one thing.

Hadebe indicated that the book, though it originates from Matobo, is meant to assist the whole country on how they should build peace so as to have development in their communities.

He said the book chronicles issues of development and setbacks from a social, economic and political development level due to lack of peace.

Chief Fuyane hailed Hadebe for writing the book and also lamented the upsurge in drug abuse adding that something must be done urgently to address the problem that threatens to destroy the nation at large.

“When Tshuma was talking he said Njengu has destroyed our generation, my question is who crafted the law that allowed Njengu to be sold, no one can answer the question but the truth will come out,” Fuyane said.

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