The role of the Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops in conflict management and peace building in Zambia
Habeenzu, Precious, Kabungo, Mumbi
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Conflict management and Peacebuilding in Zambia seem like concepts not taken very seriously and perhaps misunderstood in a society commonly known as a peaceful nation. The purpose of this study is to highlight the role of the Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops (ZCCB) (formerly known as Zambia Episcopal Conference - ZEC) in conflict management and peacebuilding in Zambia. From the research process, it was found by the researcher that peacebuilding initiatives by the Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops have untapped potential to be used in conflict management especially if policy makers embrace and acknowledge the Important influence the Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops has in preaching peace and encouraging dialogue in Zambia. Findings also found that the Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops' department known as the Human Development (or Caritas Zambia) mandated to handle all justice and peace issues of the Conference and thus if strengthened, this department has potential to infiltrate to the most public domain. The study also highlighted the strengths and weaknesses of the Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops and the strengths included the fact that they have a good corporate name with attractiveness with membership that is united plus encompasses all age groups. It was also discovered that Caritas International actually has an excellent Peacebuilding manual produced and published in 2002 which actually forms a good basis for Caritas Zambia and thus the Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops to even consider peacebuilding courses incorporated into various educational disciplines. Overall, there is more potential for the Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops to influence the creation of peace building policies that can be used in conflict management. From the findings, this study has suggested various recommendations for the Government of the Republic of Zambia and how they ought to work with the Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops as catalysts in peace building initiatives. This brief study is coming at a time when Zambia has come to experience violent conflict tendencies especially as it is an election year and these conflicts if mishandled, have potential to spread and be tougher to manage.