Friday morning a delegation of church leaders led by World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit was received on a courtesy visit in Harare by Zimbabwe vice president Hon. Emmersom Mnangagwa and government officials.
The visit was part of a journey of solidarity upon invitation by WCC member churches in the country to support them and the people of Zimbabwe in their struggle for justice and peace.
Tveit was pleased by the opportunity to reconnect with the churches and the people of Zimbabawe.
"As Christians we are committed to justice and peace. The WCC delegation is here to show that we support the churches in Zimbabwe in their peaceful efforts for the well-being of the people of Zimbabwe, and their work for a national dialogue with the government, political parties and other organizations", said Tveit.
He particularly mentioned challenges such as empowering young people to avoid unemployment and marginalization, human rights, the needs of children, and the unfairness in distribution of wealth.
"These are pertinent and moral issues in which churches are deeply engaged, and where we seek open and critical dialogue and cooperation with both politicians and the business world. There are challenges in today's world, but also a potential to give people hope. We are committed to the unity of churches, so that they can be assigned to the unity of humankind", Tveit continued.
The topic of next year’s parliamentary elections in Zimbabwe was also raised at the meeting, and the WCC offered to assist in monitoring election procedures to ensure a peaceful, fair and democratic election.
This participation of the churches was warmly welcomed by the vice president, who also expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to meet the delegation and share views.
The recognition of the critical role of the church and the importance of dialogue was further underlined by opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, whom the delegation also had the opportunity to meet briefly yesterday.
"The response we got from both parties is encouraging and I hope that this national dialogue with the churches will continue and be beneficial for the people of Zimbabwe ", Tveit concluded.
Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit leading a delegation of church leaders from Europe, Africa and North America.The two-day visit in the capital is an ecumenical solidarity visit to manifest Christian churches’ support for the people of Zimbabwe.
WCC delegation visits Zimbabwe (WCC press release 19 May)