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  • Zimbabwe's Elections 2013 - Index of Articles

  • Voting and voting peacefully is every citizen's responsibility
    Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace in Zimbabwe (CCJP)
    July 28, 2013

    Peace be with you!

    As the nation approaches the Zimbabwe harmonized elections to be held on the 31st of July 2013, the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace in Zimbabwe (CCJPZ), a commission of the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops' Conference (ZCBC), encourages all citizens to vote. As advised by the latest ZCBC Pastoral Letter entitled Zimbabwe Elections 2013: And the God of second chances, CCJPZ encourages all to exercise their democratic rights to 'select capable individuals from all the people-men and women who fear God, trustworthy men and women who hate dishonest gain and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens.' (Exodus 18:21). In the Catholic tradition, responsible citizenship is a virtue, and participation in political life is a moral obligation… Participation in political life in light of fundamental moral principles is an essential duty for every Catholic and all people of goodwill. (United States Catholic Bishops' Conference, 2013).

    There have been challenges that may have reduced our confidence in electoral processes, but we are always asked to '…be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.' (Deuteronomy 31:6). Much of the suffering on earth is because of godless leadership (Proverbs 28:12). Some good people are equally to blame for bad situations as they do nothing about it. As responsible citizens, we must participate in choosing God fearing leaders who are selfless, responsible, accountable and truthful; leaders who respect human life and human dignity. The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has assured the nation of the secrecy of the ballot and how each vote will count.

    As usual, the Catholic Church, through CCJPZ, and other regional church institutions such as the Inter-Regional Meeting of Bishops of Southern Africa will be actively participating in the electoral processes as Catholic Observers so that we can independently and freely exercise our democratic right. Their role will be to observe the process and inform the local and regional Church leadership, which, if necessary, will dialogue with responsible authorities to improve the electoral processes.

    With the Prophet Isaiah, we say: 'Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand' (Isaiah 41:10). 'May our country rise to new life in the Lord and move forward to the Kingdom future he promises. We invite all… people to commit themselves to promoting peace in Zimbabwe and overcome the culture of intolerance, intimidation and political violence. As Church we will endeavor to facilitate forgiveness, national healing and reconciliation in the years to come. We invite you all to pray for our country at all times and during all occasions particularly at this important time in our life as a nation.' (ZCBC Pastoral Letter, 15 March 2013).

    Visit the CCJPZ fact sheet

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