FOR the last three years, concerned church leaders, led by Bishop Sebastian Bakare of the Anglican Church, have been trying to meet with President Robert Mugabe to discuss the crisis facing the country, without success.
th, the president finally agreed to meet with church leaders of the Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC), two major protestant church umbrella bodies in the country.
The subsequent visit to State House by these church leaders came after the ZCC had published a pastoral letter to the nation which spelt out the causes of the crisis and the people’s suffering as “bad governance, unjust laws, corruption, lack of integrity and the unfair distribution of resources”.
This was, therefore, a God-given opportunity for the churches in Zimbabwe to speak prophetically as representatives of God and the shepherds of His people.
Zimbabweans, who are mostly Christians, eagerly and hopefully waited to hear about the result of the meeting. They were deeply disappointed.
The church leaders somehow lost their nerve. Instead of chronicling the obvious evil acts of this government and pronouncing God’s judgment on it saying: “Thus saith the Lord”, as would be expected of God’s prophets, they allowed President Mugabe to lecture them on how they should relate to the state.
He told them that the church and the government must work together as partners to build a legacy of bonding between them.
At the end of the meeting the head of delegation and president of the ZCC, Bishop Peter Nemapare, in front of national television cameras, said: “We know we have a government that we must support, interact with and draw attention to concerns. Those of us who have different ideas about this country must know we have a government which listens.”
Densen Mafinyane, general secretary of the ZCC, also voiced the same sentiments of support, thus giving comfort to the president, the government and the ruling Zanu PF. He added insult to injury on the suffering masses of Zimbabwe by saying the church fully supported the government and its members were also in need of land so that they could contribute to the building of Zimbabwe.
He concluded by saying: “Despite the differences the government and church might have, the two parties must consult and maintain their partnership.”
We, the Zimbabwe Christian Alliance would like God and the nation to know that we categorically disassociate ourselves from this apostasy.
We totally disagree with the tenor and substance of the sentiments voiced by these leaders. In what way do they support this government which has shed innocent blood, brutally tortured its citizens and destroyed their homes and livelihoods and promoted racial hatred?
Were they not sincere when, in their pastoral letter they said the government was misgoverning? Who has the government listened to since it came to power? Do they support the evils of Gukurahundi, the violent land reform programme, Operation Murambatsvina, the militarised Operation Taguta, Operation Roundup, cronyism, corruption, bribery, state-sponsored violence and the setting up of concentration camps to hold so-called undesirable elements. They have no regard of the fact that these are precious souls for whom Christ died.
As an alliance of like-minded Christians, who feel called by God to be united in love and to work for peace and justice in Zimbabwe, we boldly condemn every kind of abuse and every form of keeping the poor in poverty and creating new poor people.
We count ourselves among the faithful followers of Christ who refuse to be bought or frightened, but to stand for truth, justice and righteousness. We, therefore, feel called by God, who is a just God, to speak prophetically against this government’s unjust laws as well as engage in acts of defiant civil disobedience if need be.
We are not fanatical zealots or demagogues seeking fame, wealth or power, but patriotic Christians who fear God and love Zimbabwe and her long suffering people.
We therefore contend that those who went to State House have betrayed the people and the principles which the true Church of Jesus Christ stands for. On our part, there can be no partnership with the Zanu PF government until and unless there is genuine repentance and change on its part. For what relationship can there be between the light of the gospel and the darkness which the Zanu PF government stands for.
Zimbabwe Christian Alliance.