THE Methodist Church in Zimbabwe (MCZ) on Thursday called on the government to address deep structural defects in the economy, engage stakeholders to solve problems bedevilling the country and clampdown on the brutalisation of citizens by the police and other security agencies.
In a hard-hitting statement following the church’s 39th annual conference, MCZ said it could not “afford to be indifferent in the face of political and economic decay that has become both a disgrace and a scandal to the goodness of God’s beautiful creation, Zimbabwe.”
The church’s statement coincided with the abduction and barbaric torture of Tajamuka/Sesijikile campaigner Silvanos Mudzvova.
Mudzvova, an outspoken performing artist who rose to prominence after staging a one-man play denouncing the looting of diamonds, was abducted from his Harare home on Tuesday night before being tortured with sharp objects and electrical shock.
The Methodist Church statement also comes in the wake of clashes between the police and demonstrators in Harare and Bulawayo. The police have subsequently banned protests in Harare’s central business district.
“The Methodist Church in Zimbabwe is voicing on behalf of the suffering people and encourages that peace and tranquillity should prevail in our beautiful country. The conference also calls upon all concerned Christians and people of other faiths to rely on prayer and constructive engagement for peace to prevail in the country,” said the church.
“We call upon the government to look beyond symptoms and address the deeper challenges that demand serious dialogue amongst all citizens. A conducive atmosphere for multi-stakeholder engagement must be created urgently.”
The MCZ said it had a duty to live by its prophetic call of being a custodian of a moral and just society and thus cannot be blind to prevailing social injustices.
“The Methodist Church in Zimbabwe cannot afford to be indifferent in the face of political and economic decay that has become both a disgrace and a scandal to the goodness of God’s beautiful creation, Zimbabwe. The MCZ believes in a leadership such as that described in 2 Samuel 23:3 which says ‘He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God’.
“All power and authority belong to God. God should be and is the centre of all just governments of the world. In other words, the Methodist Church in Zimbabwe admonishes the Government of Zimbabwe to govern in the fear of God avoiding unjust and repressive tactics and treating people with dignity.”
Condemning all forms of violence, MCZ appealed to the country’s leadership not to abuse power.
“Furthermore, we implore those police officers and other security personnel that are brutalising citizens to respect citizens’ right to peaceful demonstrations and to desist from perpetrating violence on the people and uphold the rule of law. The Methodist Church in Zimbabwe therefore believes that all forms of violence and destruction of property are deplorable and have no place in a civilised and modern society,” said the church.
Last week, one of Zimbabwe’s senior Roman Catholic Church clerics, Gilbert Chiromba, said the country faces a “leadership vacuum” as President Robert Mugabe becomes increasingly incapable because of age and ill health.
Chiromba, secretary-general of the influential Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Zimbabwe, said the country was being damaged because of the uncertainty about who would replace 92-year-old Mugabe and how the transition would be managed.