ZIMBABWE’s main Christian denominations — long regarded as supporting President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF regime — have broken their silence and demanded the Zanu PF leader to urgently get off his high horse and initiate dialogue with dissenting voices, instead of using brute force to silence them.
Source: Churches call Mugabe to order – NewsDay Zimbabwe September 16, 2016
BY BLESSED MHLANGA
In a hard-hitting statement after its 39th annual conference in Kadoma last month, the Methodist Church in Zimbabwe said it could not continue being silent while government brutalised its citizens.
“The Methodist Church in Zimbabwe cannot afford to be indifferent in the face of political and economic decay that has become both a disgrace and a scandal to the goodness of God’s beautiful creation, Zimbabwe,” the statement read.
“We call upon the government to look beyond symptoms and address the deeper challenges that demand serious dialogue amongst all citizens. A conducive atmosphere for multi-stakeholder engagement must be created urgently.”
The Zimbabwe Heads of Christian Denominations (ZHOCD) — which encompasses the Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Council of Churches, Union for the Development of Apostolic Churches in Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops’ Conference, Habbakuk Trust, Christian Alliance, Zimbabwe Divine Destiny, Students’ Christian Movement of Zimbabwe and Ecumenical Church Leaders’ Forum — last month also released an equally hard-hitting statement condemning police brutality and violence.
“As the nation grapples with a myriad of challenges ranging from the struggle to get by each day, loss of confidence in governmental structures and institutions, coupled with a growing sense of helplessness and hopelessness amidst promises of light at the end of the tunnel, as believers, we are not spared from the day-to-day struggles for survival,” ZHOCD said in a joint statement.
“We urge the Church to pray for good governance, constitutionality and the rule of law as well as for a prosperous economy. We call upon national leaders in government to hearken the voice of the Lord that collectively, we humble ourselves.”
The statements from the churches came after Mugabe told war veterans in July that he would not accept “any nonsense” coming from religious leaders, telling them to stick to the Bible.
“I want to warn them very strongly: Zanu PF will not tolerate any nonsense done in the name of religion. Keep to your religious side and we will respect you. If you wade into politics, you are courting trouble and we know how to deal with enemies,” he warned.