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  • Zimbabwe's Elections 2013 - Index of Articles

  • A call for peace to the nation during the election season
    Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC)
    July 17, 2013


    We as the Zimbabwe Council of Churches heads of churches on 19 June 2013 issued this pastoral letter which is borne out of our compelling mission as the Shepherds of God's flock through Jesus' message to Peter in John 21 that says, “If you love me, tend my sheep”. This 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 threaten or 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 in conformity with our calling through preaching the Gospel of truth, justice, peace, reconciliation, unity and love as entrusted to us by the Lord Jesus Christ.

    New constitution

    We welcome and celebrate with pride, the new consttiution that His Excellency President Robert Mugabe signed into law on 22 May 2013 following the overwhelming public endorsement in the 16 March referendum.

    We salute the determination, commitment and patience shown by the political leaders and the people of Zimbabwe in concluding this important process. The support of Zimbabwe's neighbours in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) was crucial towards the achievement of this milestone.

    This new constitution marks a new chapter in the continuing struggle for democracy, good governance, rule of law and economic development. These are ideals that began with the national liberation struggles against colonialism and oppression.

    We remind the nation that having a new constitution is just the beginning. Zimbabweans must internalise all the values enshrined in the new constitution and live by them if the supreme law is to make a difference in our lives. Our collective task as the nation of Zimbabwe, is to make our new constitution a living document that shapes our conduct, guides our actions, and that constantly reminds all of us to cherish freedom, equality, peace, justice, tolerance, prosperity, patriotism and unity in our rich diversity. May this, our new constitution be the glue that binds us together as one nation, as we march towards our common destiny. May our new-found values of peace, tolerance, respect for human rights and the rule of law enshrined in our new constitution guide us in the lead up to, during and after the coming harmonised elections. We encourage those who will be elected as Councillors, Parliamentarians and Senators to make sure that the new constitution will reach their constituencies and is explained in the language that people understand to avoid wrong interpretations.

    Harmonized elections: a "KAIROS" moment

    Today the nation of Zimbabwe is at 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. Such times call for pragmatic reflection, looking back and forth.

    Once again, 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, abductions and other forms of violence that characterized the June 2008 elections. Our prayer is that even those who suffered this trauma will still see the value of voting. Our campaign must instill confidence to people who are living in fear because of memories of the last elections. We also encourage the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to continue to strive for transparency, honesty and excellence so that those who lose the election will not pinpoint to the electoral systems which results in disputed elections. It is our hope and prayer that this election will not result in a controversial outcome that will lead into another negotiated settlement to create a unity government. Let us accept and respect the people's choices.

    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. This is evidenced by the peace that prevailed on 16 March 2013 during the referendum. It is possible to win an election without engaging in violence, intimidation and vote buying.

    Our message to those in authority is that they should put in place transparent electoral and political processes that are also sensitive to special groups such as children, the disabled and those living positively with HIV/AIDS. We emphasize that peace is only possible where there is justice and fairness. As the church, we are reminding the nation that justice to the underprivileged is one of God's demands to those in authority.

    Our message to all Zimbabweans is that as we approach the elections, let the words of our Lord Jesus Christ: "You are the salt of the earth and the light of the world", (Matthew 5:13) ring in the mind of every citizen. Consistent with this message 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: transparency, reconciliation, tolerance, peace, justice and fairness (Galatians 5:22).

    We demand these virtues from leaders of: all political parties, security services, the media, ZEC, Civil Society Organisations, and other relevant government departments, some of whom are part of our flock. As we make these demands we should continue to admonish and pray for these institutions so that they are inspired to do what is right in the discharge of their duties. 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. Let us put Zimbabwe first and our personal interests last. We also condemn hate language with a strong voice in both private and public media. First and foremost we are Zimbabweans before we become political leaders.

    This pastoral letter is a trumpet call to Christians in Zimbabwe to dedicate Sunday 21 July for the Cathedral or pulpit call for peace in Zimbabwe. All churches are requested to focus on peace during their worship services. Church leaders are invited to lead their flock in a special pledge and covenant of peace with God. The rallying text on this day is John 14:27a: "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you".

    Issued by:

    African Independent Church
    African Methodist Church in Zimbabwe
    African Methodist Episcopal Church
    African Reformed Church
    Anglican Diocese of Harare
    Anglican Diocese of Central Zimbabwe
    Anglican Diocese of Matabeleland
    Anglican Diocese of Manicaland
    Anglican Diocese of Masvingo
    Baptist Convention of Zimbabwe
    Christian Marching Church
    Church of Christ in Zimbabwe
    Church of Central Africa Presbyterian
    ELCZ Central Diocese
    ELCZ Western Diocese
    ELCZ Eastern Diocese
    Independent African Church (Mushakata)
    Methodist Church in Zimbabwe
    United Church of Christ in Zimbabwe
    Reformed Church in Zimbabwe
    Salvation Army
    Presbyterian Church of Africa
    Uniting Presbyterian Church of Southern Africa
    United Congregational Church (SA)
    United Methodist Church
    Ziwezano Church

    View the Zimbabwe Council of Churches fact sheet

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