Victor Maphosa Herald Correspondent
Churches have called for the suspension of elections in Zimbabwe for seven years and a unified approach in solving all issues affecting the nation.
Addressing journalists yesterday the Zimbabwe Heads of Christian Denominations (ZHOCD) secretary general Rev Kenneth Mtata said it is the belief of the church that all political players should join hands in fixing the national crisis.
“We, the leaders of the ZHOCD made up of Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe, United Development of Apostolic Churches in Zimbabwe Africa, Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops Conference and Zimbabwe Council of Churches, met at the Africa Synod House on October 7, 2019 to consider the currently unfolding national crisis in its totality and to propose what we believe is a comprehensive but sustainable solution to it,” he said
“We have prayerfully come to the conclusion that in light of the current political paralysis, deepening mistrust and the economic decline, the nation will need to take a bold decision to address the root causes of the our national challenges that have a very long history and will not be fully resolved by one entity.
“In this light we are calling the nation to Sabbath on all political contestation for a period of seven years to allow for the rebuilding of trust and confidence, reset our politics and chart a shared way forward towards a comprehensive economic recovery path in a non-competitive political environment.”
The clergy said the position builds on the founding vision of the 2006 church discussion document, the Zimbabwe We Want.
They said the position also builds on the proposal from the Zimbabwe Heads of Christian Denominations Episcopal Conference at the Large City Hall, Bulawayo from May 8 and 9, 2019.
Rev Mtata said the idea of the Sabbath is a deep theological theme in the Old and New Testaments of the bible and in Church tradition.
He said it is based on God’s command to his people to set aside the seventh day for a rest, Seven years were also considered as Sabbath years.
“Seven -year Sabbaths or forty-nine years constituted what was called the Jubilee season. In this Jubilee season, land would be left fallow so that it could recover its nutrients. Debts would be forgiven,” he said.
“New relationships would be built and God would bless his people. Since its independence in 1980, Zimbabwe reaches her Jubilee year in 2029.
“The nation could use the coming period to usher in a true Jubilee for the nation by removing all political contestation from the land and focus the period on healing past wounds, recover the economy, and build a new political culture of cooperation focused on nation-building.”
The call by the churches comes at a time President Mnangagwa has launched Political Actors Dialogue where political parties are united for a good purpose in solving issues affecting the nation.
During the launch, President Mnangagwa said the move will contribute in turning around the country’s socio-economic fortunes and proffer solutions to challenges facing the nation.
“The dialogue we are launching today will undoubtedly leave a lasting imprint on our country’s political landscape and help to contribute to the turnaround of the country’s socio-economic fortunes,” President Mnangagwa said.
“This platform is designed to be a vibrant forum through which we proffer solutions to the challenges that confront us a nation, through peaceful, open and transparent discourse.