Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC) General Secretary Reverend Dr Kenneth Mtata of the Evangelical Lutheran Church has urged Churches and the public to preach peace and co-existence as the country prepares for the fast-approaching General Election this winter.
Addressing hundreds of gatherers at the Harare Gardens after the Africa Day Peace March, Rev Mtata called on the nation to ‘get up, pick up and go’ with the sole agenda of peace.
The ZCC Gen-Secretary said the peace march by the amalgamation of churches of Zimbabwe is a wake-up signal to the society to pray for the nation, its economy and justice, as it has for the longest time sank into paralysis.
Rev Mtata who made reference to a scripture from John 5 where Jesus had an encounter with a paralysed man by the poolside, said:
‘….We are here to get up, pick up and go because the nation has been in paralysis for many years. It has not been able to stand, pick up itself and go. But we are saying there is actually an opportunity for us as a nation to get up, pick up and go. The reason why we are here is that we want to express this desire.’
Mtata went on to state that the passivity was precipitated by a wave of fear which has tramped the country over the years.
‘The reason why many people are in paralysis and not get up could be a result of fear and for a long time, this nation has been riddled with so many kinds of fear. Fear to be different. People are not able to live together when they are different.’
The Rev, however, affirmed that people are no longer afraid as the triumph of the Peace March indicates that Zimbabweans are becoming more welcome to the gospel of coexisting in their variations.
‘We are not going to be afraid to be different. If we celebrate our differences, we will be able to get up, pick up and go. We want to go for peace and this is our agenda,’ he said:
Elsewhere, Mtata went deeply to illustrate the notion of peace when he said:
‘When Christians are talking about peace, they are not talking about the absence of violence. You know that at the cemetery there is peace, but that is peace because there is death. That’s not the peace we are talking about. The peace we are talking is the peace that is active that is at work. The Old Testament talks about this peace by the word Shalom. The word Shalom means people live together with one another, they produce wealth and they share and everyone has a piece of it. That is the peace Christians are talking about.’
Speaking at the same event Retired Justice Selo Nare emphasised the power of peace in setting mankind free.
“Peace is a revolutionary love that is powerful enough to set both the oppressed and the oppressor free,” he said.
The Peace March which impelled from the townhouse to Harare Gardens saw many people from various Church sects coming together to pray for peace and tranquillity.
On their way to Harare Gardens, the church parade stopped at three different junctures where they made specific prayers for the country. The stopped in Nelson Mandela where they prayed for the Parliament, in Samora Machel where they prayed for justice and also in Parklane where they prayed for Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and the economy.
The call for a peace march could not come at a more appropriate time as in recent times Zimbabwe has seen many forms of politically-motivated violence and dissemination of hateful speeches among politicians.