Paramount members of the five-fold ministry in Zimbabwe expressed sadness over the country’s worsening socio-political and economic situation and called upon all churches to remain in prayer as the church continues with its ecumenical efforts to unite the nation and facilitate nation-building dialogue.
The call was made by the Zimbabwe Heads of Christian Denominations (ZHOCD) – a consortium made up of the Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe (EFZ), Union for Development for Apostolic Churches in Zimbabwe (UDACIZA), Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops Conference (ZCBC) and Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC) – through a statement issued after the National Episcopal conference in Bulawayo last week.
According to ZHOCD, citizens are battling to put food on the table, send children to school, seek healthcare for the ill, make a living in difficult economic conditions and cope with life’s struggles in an environment of austerity.
The influential clerics said they have instructed their technical teams to establish three Ecumenical Commissions, on national healing and reconciliation, economic justice and constitutional democracy to coordinate the preparations towards a national convention and the on-going work of the national dialogue process.
Read the full statement below:
1. We, the leaders of the ZHOCD made up of EFZ, UDACIZA, ZCBC and ZCC, come together as the leadership of the Zimbabwean Church which makes up the majority of the citizens of this nation’ today to call the nation towards a united, sincere and committed approach to solving the pressing challenges affecting our people. We reiterate our call for a comprehensive and inclusive national dialogue.
2. Church leaders are disheartened as they witness the heavy toll of ongoing fuel shortages, price hikes, heavy taxation and currency crisis. The desperate cries of struggling Zimbabwean families as they battle to put food on the table, send children to school, seek healthcare for the ill, make a living in difficult economic conditions and cope with life’s struggles in a context of austerity require urgent attention.
3. The time to act is now. It is not God’s will for our people to be divided, suffering and to be in perpetual conflict. Our relationships with each other need healing. Our economy must do more to meet our people’s needs for dignified and fulfilled lives free from want. Our people’s desire to be heard and to meaningfully participate in the decisions that impact their daily lives must be honoured.
4. To this end, we will immediately begin preparations for the holding of an inclusive National Convention convened by the Church to explore ways towards practical resolutions to pressing challenges based on a shared national vision. This National Convention towards National healing and reconciliation; Responsible and responsive governance; and a Just economic and social contract will seek the support of all stakeholders.
5. We are also instructing our technical teams to formally request the expansion of the Tripartite Negotiation Framework and its legislative mechanism to accommodate the Church, Civil Society and other organised interests in dialogue processes to secure the nation’s shared
6. We also instruct our technical teams to establish three Ecumenical Commissions on National Healing and Reconciliation; Economic justice; and Constitutional Democracy to coordinate the preparations towards the upcoming National Convention and the on-going work of the National Dialogue Process.
7. We are calling the nation for a Sabbath season of rest from all forms of polarising political activities and contestation, finger pointing and violent conflict. This is vital to build trust and confidence in the national dialogue process and to ensure ownership for its outcomes.
8. We appeal to the International Community for respectful solidarity and accompaniment as we pursue a locally driven process. Further, we implore you to remove sanctions even as we call upon our own government to comply with International standards and norms of human rights, democracy and good governance.
9. We reiterate our preferential option for the vulnerable, marginalised, voiceless and all those in the diaspora to be given opportunities to voice their concerns and fully contribute to the National Dialogue as full citizens of our great nation.
10. We request all Christians to remain in prayer for the Church’s efforts to unite the nation and facilitate nation-building dialogue under the will of God.
‘How good and pleasant it is when brothers and sisters live together in unity… For there the Lord bestows his blessing, even life forevermore’ (Psalms 133 verse 1 -3).
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe today launch of the Political Actors Dialogue (Polad) at Harare International Conference Centre (HICC), with at least 5 000 delegates expected to attend.
An official within the secretariat said everything was in place for the grand occasion.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa will launch the event which seeks to foster unity among Zimbabweans.
Political actors in the national dialogue met and adopted a code of conduct to promote conditions encouraging dialogue and build on political tolerance, mutual respect, consensus, information dissemination and commitment to principles outlined in the dialogue.
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