A statement by the Heads of Christian Denominations in Zimbabwe (HOCD)


We, the Churches in Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC), the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops Conference (ZCBC) and the Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe (EFZ) re-affirm our conviction that all human beings are born with God given inalienable rights. It is therefore the duty of every Government to ensure that a conducive environment is created so that citizens are able to exercise these rights and in the process to attain their potential. The church has a mandatory call to be the voice of the voiceless, to offer pastoral services to the nation and be part of the reconstruction process.
In pursuit of its vision of justice, peace, prosperity and total salvation for all, the Church acknowledges and appreciates the progress that has been made so far by the Inclusive Government to bring about peace and healing to the Nation. Cognizant of the responsibility that we carry to ensure that we secure a peaceful future for our nation, and desirous of preventing a repetition of the political violence that rocked our nation in 2008, we call upon the Government and the political parties to note the following concerns: –
Global Political Agreement
All aspects of the Global Political Agreement should be fully implemented before an election is held. We also call on the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), the guarantors of the GPA, to ensure that the agreement is fully implemented accountably and timeously.
The Church is ready and willing to facilitate and support dialogue between the Principals and political parties to ensure the resolution of the outstanding issues.
The Constitution making process
This Constitution making process should ensure that the views of the people are respected. It should also take cognizance of some flaws in the outreach process that might have subverted the views of the people in some areas.
We implore our political leaders in the coalition government to reflect deeply on the timing of elections bearing in mind the unhealed state of the nation and the fragile state of the economy. However, whenever elections come, it is essential for government to implement the SADC guidelines in full if they are to be credible.
Peace and Security
Churches are concerned about reports of politically motivated violence in the provinces of Mashonaland, Masvingo, Manicaland and Harare caused by the revival of the structures that perpetrated violence in the run-up to the 2008 Presidential Elections.
The Church urges the political leadership to exercise restraint and avoid making statements that can fuel political violence. Whilst the occasional denunciation of violence by our political leaders is encouraging, we believe that it must become more regular and translated into reality.
The Church calls on the security forces to maintain peace and security for all citizens. They should exercise their duties in a non-partisan manner to fulfill their constitutional mandate. Also, the Church notes the strategic role of traditional leaders in ensuring that peace is maintained within communities. The Church, therefore, calls upon the chiefs to work in partnership with other stakeholders to ensure that peace and security is maintained within their communities.
The Role of Mass Media
Aware of the power of the media in shaping public opinion, the church is concerned about the hate language published in the media and calls on journalists to adhere to professional ethics and to exercise justice and fairness in their reporting.
National Healing
The Church is concerned about lack of a clear national framework on the healing and reconciliation process which is a critical component of this transitional period.
In its absence, the Church will continue with its Biblical mandate of reconciliation through various forums, but notes the strategic importance of the Organ for National Healing, Reconciliation and Integration, which should facilitate the formation of an independent truth, justice and reconciliation commission. The Organ for National Healing, Reconciliation and Integration should also facilitate a comprehensive and inclusive process of crafting the national framework that will deal with issues of truth telling, acknowledgement of the past wrongs, reconciliation, restorative and transitional justice issues.
Call To The Churches
We urge the Church community to organize prayer vigils and be part of the Campaign for Peace as God leads our nation into a new, peaceful and prosperous New Year.
We believe that this is a God’s time for our nation to progress into a new era of peace and prosperity for all.
God Bless Zimbabwe!


Source: http://kubatana.org/html/archive/relig/110211hocd.asp?sector=RELIG

PDF version: http://czcluk.com/docs/Hocd_press_statement1.pdf