Rebuilding trust for peace to prevail, urge communities and state institutions in northern Mozambique – Mozambique

June 28, 2022

Prominent Mozambican cleric and civil society leader Bishop Dinis Matsolo said the country’s media must report responsibly on the conflict in the northern province of Cabo Delgado. Bishop Matsolo also said there is a need to rebuild trust between the police, corrections and communities in Cabo Delgado so that peace returns to the province.

The Bishop was speaking at meetings with community leaders, police and corrections officers held in Pemba on June 24, 2022 as part of the efforts of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to find lasting peace in Cabo Delgado, which has been under attack. terrorists. SADC has developed a peacebuilding support program for Cabo Delgado to improve capacity building of police and correctional services; and skills development programs for youth and women for their social development.

The program is funded by the European Union (EU) under the African Union Commission’s Rapid Response Mechanism (ERM) in support of Mozambique. The meetings aim to rebuild trust between police, corrections and communities in order to bring peace to the region.

Bishop Matsolo said that if the media is to truthfully report on the conflict in Cabo Delgado, the reporting by journalists must convey messages of hope to the communities affected by the violence. He said there was a need to have a positive narrative of Africa, instead of focusing on negative coverage of conflicts.

There is also a need for mutual trust between the media and state institutions like the military, police and correctional services in order to build peace in communities. Journalists often worked in hostile environments, which prevented them from accessing accurate and reliable information, which was not good for peacebuilding, Bishop Matsolo said. He said there is a need to rebuild trust between communities in northern Mozambique and the police and correctional services, which will result in peace and development.

To build peace, police and communities must engage and speak honestly, show respect, create transparency, and correct past mistakes. Police and communities must show loyalty to their country, deliver results and strive for their own perfection. There was also a need for communities and the police to clarify what is expected of them in society and face the reality of the situation in the region. They must practice accountability, listen to each other and keep their promises, and both sides must do this for a strong relationship, which will result in lasting peace, Bishop Matsolo said.

Representatives of the different communities of Cabo Delgado who attended the meetings identified the lack of trust between communities and government institutions, extreme poverty and the lack of good infrastructure and public amenities such as good schools and hospitals in the region as some of the issues at the root of the conflict. . They also cited inequality and a lack of opportunity, despite the abundant wealth in the province. They said it was necessary to adopt a multidimensional approach to combat violence in the province of Cabo Delgado. The SADC peacebuilding initiative aims to strengthen the capacity of the Mozambican police and correctional services, social protection mechanisms, public order and humanitarian assistance in Cabo Delgado, which has been attacked by terrorists and violent extremists.

SADC peacebuilding support to the Republic of Mozambique follows the Summit of SADC Heads of State and Government held on 23 June 2021, which endorsed a mandate to deploy the Rapid Deployment Capability of the SADC standby force in the province. The activities implemented are expected to provide humanitarian assistance and multi-dimensional peacekeeping which involves, among others, the participation of civilians to undertake confidence-building measures/programmes, aimed at dispelling mistrust within communities.

This will create cohesion to facilitate synergies that will promote peace and security and support economic and social development in the province of Cabo Delgado. At the national level, the Government of the Republic of Mozambique has developed the Cabo Delgado Recovery Plan (PRCD) in areas affected by terrorists. The plan is organized into three pillars, namely humanitarian assistance; infrastructure recovery; and; Economic and financial activity. The Cabo Delgado reconstruction plan requires an estimated budget of $300 million, of which $100 million has been secured.

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