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pastoral letter to the nation
Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC)
December 20, 2012
for Peace In Zimbabwe: Pray for It! Speak It! Spread It! Do It!
In our October
2009 Pastoral Letter to the nation, a nation that was still struggling
to emerge from a protracted period of crisis, we acknowledged the
promising positive national developments that we anticipated following
the signing of the Interparty Agreement, also known as the Global
Political Agreement (GPA) on September 15th 2008. Such prospects
had arisen out of such positive developments as the setting up of
Government (GNU) in February of 2009, upon which the once warring
major political parties agreed to work together to get Zimbabwe
on her feet again. We applauded the process because it held such
positive prospects as peaceful co-existence, economic recovery,
national healing and reconciliation, and constitutional reform.
to the GPA and GNU
When the three
political parties signed the GPA they committed themselves to putting
the people of Zimbabwe first, ahead of their own personal political
interests. We as the Church commended them for taking such steps
which brought about relative stability in the nation. The Global
Political Agreement had an encouraging and positive focus which
of respect to the rule of law and democratic values and processes.
a society free of violence and hatred.
the rights of all citizens and giving the necessary freedoms or
liberties of a free people.
a society governed on principles of peace, openness and dignity
the values of justice and fairness to all.
- Giving the
people a genuine chance to rebuild their livelihoods and nation
through reforms, and above all, respecting all people - as the
bedrock of democracy and good governance.
Today, as we
draw to the end of 2012, three years after setting such an agenda,
it is time for us to reflect on whether or not those promises were
fulfilled, and ask, "If not, why?". It is time "to
take stock", and make sure we make wise decisions when the
time comes for voting
for both the Constitution/draft and the next Parliament
Over the past
three years, we noted with great concern that the processes agreed
to in the GPA were being grossly hampered by a number of factors
- The apparent
lack of political will to fully implement the Global Political
Agreement which they had signed.
- The delays,
uncertainty and general lack of transparency in constitutional,
media, and other reforms
- The limitations
of the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee (JOMIC) and
the Organ on National Healing, Reconciliation and Integration
(ONHRI) in respectively, monitoring the implementation of both
the GPA and spearheading the national healing process.
- The continued
biased reporting by sections of the media, both public and private,
and the continued harassment and arrests of media personnel, human
rights and political activists.
- Hate speech
in political and media circles.
policy pronouncements in government.
We warned then
that this general uncertainty would not only cause immense anxiety
among the people, but would also erode both investor confidence
and our people's confidence in their political leadership.
That prophecy has indeed come to pass, as we are witnessing uncertainty,
fear and lack of confidence in some parts of the country, three
years after the signing of the GPA.
mission and mandate
letter is borne out of our compelling mission as the Shepherds of
God's flock. It is a mission that derives its legitimacy from
God Himself as manifested in his Son our Lord Jesus Christ, the
Chief Shepherd and eternal Head of the Church. We have a God given
Biblical and theological mandate to guide the nation and all leaders
in making God's voice to be heard at particular times when
He chooses to speak to His people on issues of justice, peace, reconciliation,
poverty and the liberation of the oppressed (Luke 4:18-19). As the
custodians and facilitators of God's mission, we are obliged
to "stand up and proclaim" the will of God, whenever
His people are faced with difficult situations that seem to deny
them fullness of life (John 10:10). In the same way we applaud and
encourage positive actions and developments. We continue to do so
as in conformity with our calling through preaching the Gospel of
truth, justice, peace and love as entrusted to us by the Lord Jesus
Today the nation
of Zimbabwe is at a cross-roads; a decisive moment, commonly called
KAIROS in theological terms, when God's people are faced with
making life-changing choices as they seek God's guidance.
It is similar to what confronted the nation of Israel at the sight
of the Red Sea during Moses' leadership. Moses led the people
to consult God's plan and purposes for them, and the times
we face today do require the Church to do the same. Such times call
for pragmatic reflection, looking back and forth, with the intention
of transforming our faith into concrete practical actions, as we
face an uncertain future, which only God knows.
As the nation
moves towards a constitutional referendum and general elections,
we call upon the people to carefully assess progress made to date
and the role which every Zimbabwean can playing in shaping a brighter
and more secure future for our country. This we need to do, so that
we avoid having to go through another painful
process similar to what happened in 2008 and 2009.
We have not
witnessed significant economic growth in the past couple of years.
Our industries remain depressed. This has had a very negative effect
on the employment prospects for many Zimbabweans. We note with dismay
the continued bickering and blame shifting along political lines
on the state of the economy and policy implementation.
we noted with dismay the delays in coming up with a draft constitution,
and the deliberate sidelining of Faith-Based Organizations in finalizing
the document, we none-the-less participated prayerfully in the whole
process. We urge the nation to support the finalization of the process.
we reiterate our message of peace and tolerance to all political
parties and their leaders as they campaign for votes in the General
Elections. Men and women of faith should play a positive role in
maintaining sanity in all political processes. We must avoid blood-shed,
like what happened in 2008. We hope and pray that the next elections
will not result in a disputed and bloody process leading to another
negotiated settlement. Our message to the Nation is that every citizen
of the majority - age level gets registered to vote. When
the time comes, let us pray first, and then go to the polls, hoping
and trusting God to use that process to choose the next generation
of leaders and government. Zimbabwe needs God fearing and peace-loving
leaders, not corrupt and evil rulers. Our pastoral message to political
leaders is that it is possible to have peaceful elections in Zimbabwe.
It is possible to win an election without engaging in violence.
rights, responsibilities, protection and participation of vulnerable
to those in authority is that they should put in place electoral
and political processes that involve vulnerable or marginalized
groups such as women, children, the disabled and those living positively
with HIV/AIDS. We heard and do hereby reiterate their cry: "Nothing
for us without us".
We note with
great concern the deteriorating standards in some cities and towns,
especially in as far as water-reticulation and sanitation is concerned.
We urge those in local authorities and relevant ministries to correct
these ills and make sure water is availed to our people, especially
in Bulawayo and some regions of Harare and elsewhere.
We condemn in
the strongest terms possible the cancerous and toxic scourge of
corruption that is spreading within our society and call upon the
authorities to take decisive measures to and corruption. Zimbabwe's
development is retarded on account of millions of dollars lost to
The family remains
the most important social unit. Yet it is increasingly under siege
from various, social, economic, technological and political factors.
The family is the first teacher and pastor. Strong families lead
to a strong society. While we may be preoccupied with national issues
and processes: forgiveness, peace, reconciliation, justice and healing,
these virtues should be emphasized at the family level. Talking
of these virtues without regarding the family as the champion may
not yield much.
The family needs
to be supported in all respects but also defended and protected
from deviant influences so that it can play its rightful role.
The church should
play its rightful role in nurturing family values and facilitate
the promotion of respect and tolerance at all levels of society.
Church leaders at all levels are called upon to unite all the faithful
in prayer and good conduct, to fight for unity and against division
living in obedience to God.
We rejoice with
the Anglican Church in Zimbabwe (CPCA) following the recent Supreme
Court ruling which restored
their right to worship without any interference. We acknowledge
that there is still a lot of work to be done to normalize the situation
but pray that under God's guidance the pain of the past will
be overshadowed by the joy and blessings of the present and that
forgiveness will abound in the hearts of all that were wronged.
MESSAGE to the whole nation
of our message to the nation of Zimbabwe is that if ever there is
any era in which the Christian Church will benefit from hearing
the divine whisperings about our context, it is NOW! Now is the
decisive moment to "rise up and build" (Nehemiah 2:18).
Like Nehemiah of old, we are saying to Zimbabweans: "Come,
let us build up the wall of Jerusalem (Zimbabwe), that we may no
longer suffer disgrace" (Nehemiah 2:17). Like the true prophets
we are, men and women of God called in times of crisis to proclaim
the will of Yahweh to His people. We call upon our nation to repentance
in those wrong things we did in the past and to work tirelessly
to avoid a painful repeat which points to a hopeless future. God
calls us to humbly present ourselves before him and plead for our
nation and demonstrate our sincerity in deed as the word of God
states: "If my people, who are called by my name humble themselves,
and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then
I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their
land". (2 Chronicles 7:14).
peace and justice
We exhort the
Church in Zimbabwe to explore its Christian vocation more deeply
during these trying times. The Church is called upon in the name
of our Lord Jesus Christ to live in reconciliation with the Chief
Shepherd, its master and Head, and between individuals and communities
to promote peace and justice in truth for all people of this nation.
It is important
for us as Christians to rekindle our faith and hope in Christ so
as to help rebuild a reconciled Zimbabwe, pursuing paths of truth
and justice, love and peace, even as we go through the forthcoming
elections. As we read from Psalms 127:1: "Unless the Lord
builds the house, those who build it labour in vain. Unless the
Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain".
We should humbly submit ourselves to the Lord so that He can lead
us as we work towards a prosperous Zimbabwe.
As the Church
we acknowledge calls for peace and tolerance which have been repeatedly
coming from the Principals and other leaders in the Unity Government.
We applaud them for such calls. Nevertheless, we wait to see them
translating such calls into concrete actions through their political
party structures and processes. Pronouncements by political leaders
encouraging peace will remain unconvincing and hollow if the message
does not clearly filter through the structures of their parties
and organisations. We also call upon the nation to take heed of
such calls and work tirelessly to translate them into concrete actions.
Genuine peace can only be there if it is everyone's responsibility
as aptly stated in the motto by the Organ on National Healing Reconciliation
and Integration: "Peace begins with me. Peace begins with
you. Peace begins with us".
to all is that as we approach the finalization of the national constitution
and elections, let the words: "You are the salt of the earth
and the light of the world", (Matthew 5:13) ring in every
Christian's mind. Consistent with this message from Christ
that we are the salt of the earth, and the light of the world, and
inspired by " . . . faith working through love" (Galatians
5:6), let us all seek and work together to offer the fruits of that
love, which are, among others: reconciliation, tolerance, peace,
and justice (Galatians 5:22).
We demand these
virtues from leaders of all political parties many of whom are part
of our flock. We emphasize that reconciliation, tolerance and justice
are essential ingredients in the process of building a peaceful
Zimbabwe. Therefore we should cherish these virtues. Violence during
campaigns and elections worsens the situation. Reconciliation is
not an isolated event, but a process which involves deep engagement
and the honest search of one's heart and intentions for truth
in love, so that the wounds of division and hatred may be healed.
Let us all rally
under the unifying theme: "Work for Peace in Zimbabwe: Pray
it! Speak it! Spread it! Do it!". We are further admonished
by the word of God to seek peace and pursue it (Psalm 34:14), and
make peace our governor ((Isaiah 60:17-18)). True peace comes from
God and begins with each individual, you and me.
of faith: "Take heart: rise, He is calling you". (Mark
God of life,
lead Zimbabwe to peace, justice and dignity!
Yours in Christ's
View the Zimbabwe
Council of Churches fact
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