AACC Assembly statement on Zimbabwe
11 December 2008
The Assembly of the All African Conference of Churches, meeting in Maputo, Mozambique, notes with serious concern that:
The will of the people of Zimbabwe, as expressed in the Presidential election of 29 March 2008, has not been respected and therefore the voice of the people concerning that nation's future leadership has not been taken seriously;
SADC leaders, international mediators and the churches have failed to bring about an amicable solution to Zimbabwe's political crisis;
President Mugabe is using power-sharing negotiations as a strategy for wasting time and exercising continued control over Zimbabwe;
Acts of violence continue to be committed against those who do not support ZANU-PF.
Therefore, the AACC Ninth Assembly calls on AACC member churches to:
Confess that we have been slow to respond to the crisis in Zimbabwe and the suffering of the Zimbabwean people, in part because of our lack of unity, and AFFIRM our desire to listen to our sisters and brothers in Zimbabwe and to work with them towards a common vision for peace, justice and reconciliation in that nation.
Pray for an end to illegitimate rule in Zimbabwe, that justice and peace will prevail in Zimbabwe, that the suffering of the people of Zimbabwe will end and that the current conflicts will be reconciled. In particular, the AACC urges all churches on the continent and around the world to engage in a special Africa Day of Prayer and Fasting for Justice in Zimbabwe on 25 January 2009;
Take Action for justice and peace in Zimbabwe through measures appropriate to their national contexts. Such activities might include advocacy visits to leaders of nations, regional structures (SADC, etc.) and the African Union; marches and demonstrations, particularly outside of Zimbabwean embassies and consulates; and collecting funds and material to provide humanitarian aid and address the cholera crisis.
The African Union and its member states to:
State clearly that the current Zimbabwean regime is illegitimate and to withdraw recognition of the Zimbabwean government;
Intensify pressure on President Mugabe to relinquish control of the Zimbabwean government, involving international bodies (such as the International Criminal Court) where appropriate;
Facilitate genuine negotiations between all political parties and civil society organisations to chart a new political dispensation for Zimbabwe, recognising that negotiation must never be allowed to replace legitimate democratic elections and that the collective will of all Zimbabwe's people must be respected;
Recognise people fleeing the economic, political and humanitarian crises in Zimbabwe as refugees, to offer them protection and hospitality and to treat them with respect and dignity; and
Formulate a more thorough process of dealing with electoral disputes and removing leaders who refuse to accept the results of a legitimate and democratic election process.
The AACC Secretariat to:
Promote ongoing prophetic witness concerning the crisis in Zimbabwe, including the Africa Day of Prayer on 25 January 2009;
Call on the government of Zimbabwe to accord the freedom of worship to all its citizens and permit them access to their resources and property, especially the Diocese of Harare of the Anglican Church of the Province of Central Africa;
Facilitate unity amongst church leaders and, in particular, to encourage churches to speak with one voice on the subject of Zimbabwe;
Encourage, co-ordinate and facilitate activities by member churches to respond to the crisis, to end oppression and suffering in Zimbabwe, and to express concretely our concern for and solidarity with the people of Zimbabwe, for example by providing support for people who have spoken out against illegitimate rule;
Commit to accompany, empower and capacitate church leaders to address the situation in Zimbabwe and to overcome fear and intimidation; and
Communicate the text of this resolution to its ecumenical partners, all political parties in Zimbabwe, and members of the African Union.