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This article participates on the following special index pages:
Zimbabwe's Elections 2013 - Index of Articles
and voting peacefully is every citizen's responsibility
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).
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