Pastoral Statement of the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops’ Conference
Following the Military Assisted Transition of November 2017
Published Sunday 26 November 2017, Feast Of Christ The King
First and foremost we thank God the Almighty for His love and mercy for Zimbabwe and its people.We thank you all for your peaceful conduct, tolerance and cooperation during the military assisted transition that started on 15 November 2017 leading to the resignation of former President Robert Mugabe on 21 November 2017 and the inauguration of the new President Emmerson D. Mnangagwa on 24 November 2017. We thank the former President for the good work he did for Zimbabwe during the liberation struggle and as President for 37 years. We forgive him for any shortcomings during his long tenure of office. We wish the new incumbent every blessing and success.
We find it necessary to reiterate what we said in our statement of 19 November 2017 where we pointed out that “Beyond this crisis a sustainable normalisation of Zimbabwe can only be achieved through a people inclusive and participatory process in a democratic way.”We encourage the governance of Zimbabwe in any transition that may be adopted to embrace all Zimbabweans in their diversity and their oneness.This is a kairos moment where all Zimbabweans should have a voice in this transition.The nation needs to develop a culture of broad consultation, constitutionalism, safeguarding life, human dignity and fundamental human rights and freedoms.
In 2016, together with the other Heads of Churches under the umbrella body of the Zimbabwe Heads Of Christian Denominations we called for the establishment of a National Programme for Transformation which would consist of short and long term goals. The short term goals would need to be realized fully before the national elections in 2018 (We are proposing two items for the short term: 1. Economic recovery. We need economic recovery for sustainable peace and security. As Churches we commit ourselves to collaborate with Government for the removal of all forms of sanctions that have been imposed on the country. 2. Electoral Reforms. We need to work for electoral reforms to restore confidence in the plebiscite. The realization of free and fair elections in 2018 will make the outcome more acceptable internally and externally.).
The long term items would be ongoing, before and after the elections. The ethos of the proposed intervention is about rebuilding dialogue in Zimbabwe as a basis for nation-building and refocussing the country back towards the ideals of collective national pride and national prosperity. The Church can play as an intermediator for progressive dialogue under the current National Envisioning Platform with the aim of harnessing collective will and support in ensuring Zimbabwe pursues a renewed path to peace, unity, progress and prosperity.
The Way forward
It is our desire as your Shepherds to see a reconciled Zimbabwean society living in harmony, justice and peace in a democratic developmental State. We need a National Envisioning Platform (NEP) that will capture the aspirations of all the sectors of society. The church alongside other stakeholders in the public and private sectors,can establish a National Envisioning Platform as an inclusive space to enable Zimbabweans from all walks of life to contribute towards a democratic transition to the Zimbabwe We Want, a project launched by the ecumenical body in 2006.
We thank God and congratulate you as a nation for displaying a high standard of maturity in the recent tensions in our country. God has promised that: “If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and forgive their sin and heal their land” (2 Chron 7:14). Let us as one family continue to pray for peace and just outcome to the present situation in our country. Let us join in daily prayers for our nation individually and collectively. May God continue to bless Zimbabwe and all its people. Amen.
+Michael D. Bhasera, Bishop of Masvingo and Apostolic Administrator of Gweru (ZCBC President)
+Robert C. Ndlovu, Archbishop of Harare and Apostolic Administrator of Chinhoyi (ZCBC Vice President)
+Alex Thomas, Archbishop of Bulawayo (ZCBC Secretary/Treasurer)
+Albert Serrano, Bishop of Hwange
+Paul Horan, Bishop of Mutare
+Rudolf Nyandoro, Bishop of Gokwe