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ZNPC expresses concern on restrictions placed upon pastors
Zimbabwe National Pastors’ Conference (ZNPC)
July 23, 2005

'Now therefore hear the word of the Lord. You say, 'Do not prophesy against Israel, and do not preach against the house of Isaac.' Therefore thus says the Lord: 'Your wife shall be a harlot in the city, and your sons and daughters shall fall by the sword, and your land shall be parcelled out by the line, and you yourself shall die in an unclean land…'
(Amos 7:16-17)

The Zimbabwe National Pastors' conference notes with great concern the restrictions that are being placed upon pastors as they minister to people who have been adversely affected by the so called operation clean up.

We have received reports of the horrific experiences of our members and fellow pastors who have been harassed, threatened and intimidated for providing humanitarian assistance to persons displaced by Operation Murambatsvina. We have in the past made it clear that this operation undermines the human dignity conferred to all by God as we are reminded in the Creation story in Genesis. We have also taken the initiative to work with all well intentioned persons in alleviating the suffering caused by the operation, including working with government.

As pastors, we are called by God to minister to all of God's people in particular those who are in difficult circumstances (the poor, the captives, the blind and the oppressed -Luke 4:18). As such, we believe that any restrictions to our ministry is in direct conflict with God's plan of salvation and our calling. The well being of all people is at the centre of our pastoral ministry. To accept such restrictions is to make a mockery of our calling and that of God the Creator who has called us to his ministry. We deplore any suggestion of linking our pastoral work to any political party.

In the light of this calling, we express our disappointment with the action of the police towards pastors in Bulawayo on the night of 20 July 2005 and similar reports we have received from other parts of the country. As pastors and churches we have done our work in broad daylight and should be allowed to continue with their work uninhibited.

We therefore wish to express our solidarity with all pastors, priests and clergy who have responded to the plight of the people who have been adversely affected by Operation Murambatsvina and assure them of our continued prayers. We further commit ourselves to continue to pray for our nation in these difficult days.

We call upon the government of Zimbabwe to:

  • Refrain from interfering with our pastoral ministry which is undertaken during broad daylight.
  • Stop the Operation Murambatsvina.
  • Respect human dignity in any implementation of national programmes.
  • Hasten the implementation of Operation Garikayi and ensure that those who have been returned to the rural areas are protected.
  • Take seriously the concerns of the Zimbabwe people who are suffering as result of government policies

As we stated in our press statement on 30 May 2005, we do the same now: Those who oppress the poor insult their Maker, but those who help the poor honour Him. (Proverbs 14:31)

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