It was reported in the News Day of July 15 2014 that government will soon register and regulate churches in light of recent human rights abuses orchestrated by church leaders.
Before it embarks on this endeavour, the government must be given a very stern warning.
It can mess up with all other areas of people’s lives, and get away with it, but when it comes to the church of Jesus Christ, it is playing with hell-fire itself.
Home Affairs secretary, Melusi Matshiya and Registrar General Tobaiwa Mudede told a parliamentary Thematic Committee on Gender and Development that proposed regulations would help bring about sanity in places of worship.
Matshiya said there was no law to regulate or register churches and they were left to freely carry out their activities.
He also said the Private Voluntary Organisations Act and the Constitution did not require churches to be registered.
Mudede then added that registering churches was not peculiar to Zimbabwe as other countries such as Burundi had strict laws that govern church operations.
“The answer is that we have come to a position of registering churches not only in Zimbabwe but the whole of Africa because it has become a means of money-making and people are forming churches at places where there are no toilets, and young men are suddenly forming churches some of them which might be devil-worshipping,” he said.
What surprises most people is that Matshiya and Mudede are servants of the people and yet here they are briefing parliament, which represents their bosses, about why and how they are going to change the Constitution and the laws of this country? This does not make sense. Decisions about changing the Constitution and the laws of the country are made by parliament which then allocates the work of drafting to the appropriate minister and his civil servants. This is why some of us say we have a leadership crisis in Zimbabwe.
Our MPs are not up to scratch in terms of education and sophistication. They don’t know much about rules of debate, let alone, parliamentary procedure. Instead of hearing the views of their bosses, who employed them by voting for them, they spend precious time listening to useless gibberish from civil servants who don’t know what their responsibilities are.
Recently, two legislators, exchanged blows in public over allegations of instructing party youths to perform acts of arson. Can one address such thugs as “Honourable” as befits citizens who were elected to parliament by sane Zimbabweans?
One does not have to wonder why Mudede and his colleague, Matshiya would like to silence the real Church of Christ in Zimbabwe through legislation.
Real Christians in Zimbabwe are frightening those in Zanu PF who have been fighting for their own stomachs without any interest in the people. Christians in all areas of life are telling the truth as commanded by their master, Jesus Christ. This makes those who live in darkness to become frightened and desperate.
To talk about “recent human rights abuses orchestrated by church leaders” is funny indeed. Does our government have any right to insist on, let alone talk about, human rights?
The government itself is guilty of a myriad of human rights abuses. I am part of the damning evidence. I have been arrested and harassed three times by our Zanu PF government in instances of outright human rights abuse. The first time I was arrested while preaching in a church in Kadoma. I was in the middle of my sermon on the manifestation of true love for one’s neighbour when the police barged in and took me away together with some fellow Christians.
However, our time of incarceration was rather joyous because so many Christians from around Kadoma came to give us food and to pray with us. It was just like in the New Testament times when the disciples were suffering persecution from the Roman rulers and the Jewish Pharisees and Sadducees. After three days in horrible cells we were taken to court where the judge found us not guilty of any crime.
One day I was travelling with colleagues from Bulawayo where we had gone to brief bishops of Matabeleland on the operations of Zimbabwe Christian Alliance (ZCA), an interdenominational group which had been formed to fight against human rights abuses from whatever quarter. We were stopped and arrested at a road-block just outside Harare and accused of working on plans to form a political party.
We had no such thoughts, but even if we had; since when was it a crime to form a political party in Zimbabwe? Before we were released without charge, some police bigwigs advised us to work together with bishops who were supportive of government’s policies.
The third time I was arrested was when police took me away from home and accused me of “publishing falsehoods” after I made a comment in one of my columns that appeared in a daily newspaper. My comments followed news of an MDC supporter who was allegedly decapitated by Zanu PF supporters.
Again I spent three horrible days in filthy cells. When brought before the court, I was again found not guilty of having committed any crime.
Most African countries cannot be pointed to as upholding even basic human rights, let alone good governance. Africa, as a whole, is in such a terrible mess that Zimbabweans must resolutely refuse to be dragged into. Real Zimbabwean Christians, from all walks of life, from within the ruling party Zanu PF and from without, as individuals and as organisations, must now stand up to be counted and say a very loud, No, to any laws to register and to regulate churches. It would be the worst abuse of human rights ever.
The fact that the Constitution does not provide for such legislation proves that its authors and drafters were wise indeed.
The present situation where “churches are left to freely carry out their activities”, must remain as it is. The freedom for churches to worship and obey God without hindrance is a basic human right which must be safe-guarded.
Existing laws are adequate enough to deal with any so-called churches which may abuse human rights. Mudede and Matshiya are definitely not wise because they are attempting to silence the voice of truth, which is the voice of God. They need to be warned because they are treading on dangerous ground. If they insist on persecuting the church of Jesus Christ they will for sure burn in hell-fire. Those with ears, to hear, let them hear.