Source: Clergy call for peace, tolerance ahead of polls – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 4, 2017
ZIMBABWE’S clergy have called for peace and tolerance as the country heads towards the 2018 elections, and proposed formation of a dialogue forum between the church and political parties to ease tensions.
By NQOBANI NDLOVU
The Zimbabwe Heads of the Christian Denominations (ZHOCD), which compromises the Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops Conference, the Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC) and the Union for the Development of Apostolic Churches in Zimbabwe, said they remained committed to ensuring peace prevailed in the country ahead of the polls.
Bishop Ishmael Mukuwanda, the head of the ZHOCD and also ZCC president, said they met Zanu PF and opposition parties such as the MDC-T, National People’s Party and MDC, among many others, on October 12 to sell the idea of setting up a dialogue forum between the church and them.
“We believe that sustained dialogue and sustained development are mutually reinforcing and must be adopted as a way of life within Zimbabwe. In this regard, the church continues to call for all stakeholders to engage and dialogue in the journey of rebuilding hope, confidence and stability especially looking into the electoral process underway in our country,” he said in a Press statement.
“There was consensus on the need of dialogue to be institutionalised, with the church (ZHOCD) as convener, sustain engagement on an agreed code of conduct to ensure that our constitutional values and principles are put into practice before, during and after 2018 elections.”
The country holds harmonised elections next year, and although no date has been set as yet, political temperatures are already rising.
Past elections have been marred with intimidation and violence, and fears are abound that the 2018 elections will be no different.
“As we move towards the harmonised elections in 2018, we implore all stakeholders to respect the Constitution of Zimbabwe, be tolerant of different views and opinions, while employing sustained dialogue as a mechanism of conflict management and transformation.
“We implore all stakeholders to consider coalescing around a social compact, a commitment to non-violence during the electoral processes,” Mukuwanda added, before encouraging Zimbabweans, especially first-time voters, to register to vote for the 2018 elections.