On Tuesday, Zimbabwean churches, under the Zimbabwe Heads of Christian Denominations (ZHOCD) banner, called for the suspension of elections in Zimbabwe for seven years to give Zimbabweans a time to heal from past political wounds and find a unified approach in solving all issues affecting the nation.
Reverend Dr Kenneth Mtata told the press in Harare that the ecumenical unison is of the belief that all political players should join hands in fixing the national crisis and adapt to a new culture of cooperation in nation-building and peace as opposed to partisan blame gaming and electioneering which tends to produce winners and losers.
“The Sabbath proposal entails the suspension of the constitutional provision on elections, but such a deficiency will be redressed through a national referendum. The national referendum question would seek to ascertain from the people whether they agree with a seven-year suspension of all political contestation for the sake of rebuilding the nation.
Church leaders are not proposing any tailed government structure of the Sabbath season as such implementation structure must emerge from a process of consultation of citizens.
The assumption is that once the principle receives national acceptance the rough the referendum, a consultative process to design the operationalisation framework of the Sabbath season will be established through broad-based,” Rev Mtata said.
Since the electoral sabbatical proposal was made, Zimbabwean social media has been buzzing with varied thought leaders reacting differently to the call.
Here are some of the responses:
The call is absurd & unconstitutional. Elections cannot be suspended without amending the Bill of Rights, thus necessitating a referendum. The Constitution is to the State what the Bible is to the Church. Freedom of religion is fundamental, as is the separation of Church & State!
Jonathan Moyo, Professor
With the greatest of respect to @zccinzim, the proposal of suspending elections for a period of at least 7 years is untenable & impracticable. It smacks of a dodgy & suspicious agenda to create a creature called a national transitional authority. It won’t work. It doesn’t fly.
Obert Gutu, Lawyer and Politician
1. I have huge respect for the Church.
2. I haven’t read the proposal in full or applied my mind to it.
3. However, my preliminary view is that it’s dangerous to depart from the Constitution because you’ll have no safeguards when things go wrong or abuses of power start to occur.
Fadzayi Mahere, Lawyer and Politician
The churches have a right to their opinion but to suggest that the Constitution of Zimbabwe be departed from, amended or suspended is a huge slap on our constitutional architecture that we must not allow. Churches must confront the problems within the ambit of the constitution.
Pedzisai Ruhanya, Human Rights Lawyer
Sounds interesting. However, are the churches working with political and other groupings on this or are they going it alone? If they are going it alone, I do not think they have the answer to our national problems which come from an each entity for itself outlook.
Tsitsi Dangarembga, Novelist, Filmmaker and Playwright
We cannot suspend the constitution at anyone’s whim and whine. The Transitional Authority gimmick is a regime change gimmick and part of MDC’s RELOAD. We will take a sabbatical from paying tithe and offering for 7 years.
Fidelis Fengu, Disability activist and Businessman
Every nation has mad people & we have our own Kenneth Mtata & his bunch of false prophets. The Bible says all leaders come from God & for a purpose but for his lack of faith, the hypocrite sees visions from the devil & proclaims them as if they were from God. #no-to-baal-prophets. Mtata means clothes of the deceased. Certainly this man is possessed by evil spirits.
Energy Mutodi, Politician and current Deputy Minister of Information, Publicity & Broadcasting Services
ZIMBABWE NEEDS A SABBATH REST
1.We can no longer continue like this.
2.We need to heal, forgive, reconcile and then begin nation building.
3. It takes all of us and no one should be left behind.
Shingi Munyeza, Businessman, Senior Pastor, & Presidential Advisor
Like any other non-state organization, the Zimbabwe Heads of Christian Denominations (ZHOCD) is entitled to its own opinion on the state of affairs in the country. Except that its opinion is generally expected to be considered. Its most recent one is borderline ridiculous and evidence of a misplaced messianic streak of undemocratic political overreach. Or even an assumption that with the limited levels of a critical national consciousness, Zimbabweans will probably forget the democratic principle of the separation of the Church from the State. Or to quote Jesus, giving unto Caesar, what belongs to Caesar.
The leaders of the ZHOCD probably prayed about issuing this statement. Unfortunately the signal that they got from God or elsewhere is patently undemocratic that even St Augustine would be raising questions at their political theology.
Takura Zhangazha, Civil Society Activist
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