Zimbabwe Churches Reprehend Government over Harassment

After several recent attacks against the churches in Zimbabwe, local Christians issued a statement rebuking the national government for its criticisms and harassments against the Church
( [email protected] ) Sep 06, 2004 12:03 PM EDT

Christians in Zimbabwe expressed strong disapproval to the government over State-orchestrated attacks against the church in the southern African country and rejected the definition of church in a new bill meant to regulate non-governmental organizations.

According to the Catholic Information Service for Africa (CISA), Christian organizations in Zimbabwe said in a statement issued in Harare on Friday, September 3 that the church should not be accused of 'meddling in politics' wherever it carries out its prophetic mission in Zimbabwe.

"Wherever representatives or members of the Church of Zimbabwe raise their voice to prophetically remind the public and the State to respect the God-given rights of the people of Zimbabwe, it is the expression of the core vocation of the church and the Christian community," the statement which was availed to CISA said.

"Blaming the church for negatively 'meddling into politics' shows the lack of any understanding of the role and the divine obligation and calling of the Church," the groups, among them the Christians Together for Peace and Justice (Bulawayo), said.

They also took issue with recent attacks on the Catholic Archbishop of Bulawayo, Most Rev Pius Ncube, and the newly inaugurated Archbishop of Harare, Most Rev Robert Ndlovu, both of whom President Mugabe reportedly criticized at the installation of the latter in Harare on August 21, 2004.

"We . . . strongly reject these efforts to distort our image and to split the Christian churches and the community of church members in our country," the statement said. "We strongly and expressively support our leaders across all Christian denominations and churches whenever they raise the voice of the church for the voiceless and prophetically proclaim respect for justice, truth and peace in our country."

Signatories to the statement include Churches in Manicaland, Ecumenical Support Services (ESS), Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe (EFZ), the Harare Ecumenical Working Group, the Zimbabwe National Pastors Conference (ZNPC) and the Zimbabwe Students Christian Movement, and the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace.