On 15 November, the Zimbabwe Heads of Christian Denominations issued a statement entitled “Zimbabwe Between a Crisis and a Kairos (Opportunity): The Pastoral Message of the Churches on the Current Situation.”
Zimbabwe has been facing political and military unrest that continues to develop and unfold this week. “Many Zimbabweans are confused and anxious about what has transpired and continues to unfold in our nation,” reads the statement, delivered on video by Rev. Dr Kenneth Mtata, general secretary of the Zimbabwe Council of Churches. “While the changes have been rapid in the last few days, the real deterioration has been visible for everyone to see for a long time, especially during the potential political rallies of the ruling party, coupled with the deteriorating socio-economic situation.”
The heads of churches call for prayer, peace, respect for human dignity, a transitional government of national unity, and national dialogue. “The church derives its mandate from its calling as a sign of hope,” the statement reads. “We are the people of God who are being called to champion the spirit of reconciliation.”
Abrasive and exclusionary politics threaten the already weak cohesion of society, the statement continues. “We see the current crisis not just as a crisis in which we are helpless,” continues the statement. “We see the current arrangement as an opportunity for the birth of a new nation.”
The nation’s challenge is one of a lost of trust in the legitimacy of national processes and institutions. “There is a strong sense that our hard-earned constitution is not being taken seriously,” the statement reads. “There is a general feeling that the wheels of democracy have become stuck in the mud of personalized politics where the generality of the citizenry plays an insignificant role.”
World Council of Churches general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, who last visited the churches in Zimbabwe in May this year, encourages churches around the world to pray for peace and justice in Zimbabwe. “We are thankful and encouraged by the way churches in Zimbabwe stand together in solidarity in this difficult situation, and we join them in praying for peaceful developments in the country,” said Tveit.
Zimbabwe Council of Churches appeals to government to address fears of the people (WCC press release of 29 September 2017)
WCC delegation visits Zimbabwe (WCC press release of 19 May 2017)