By Robert Tapfumaneyi
THE Anglican Church of Zimbabwe (ACZ) says it stands in solidarity with the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops Conference whose members recently penned a Pastoral Letter urging the government to end “unprecedented crackdown on dissent”.
Anglican bishops said it was the duty of the church to challenge political leaders.
The Pastoral Letter issued by Catholic Bishops received a nasty backlash from senior Zanu PF and government officials with information minister labelling the clerics as “evil-minded misled, narrow-minded flock.”
However, the ACZ Bishops, in a statement Tuesday, said it was the right of the church to challenge political leaders adding that issues raised by their Catholic counterparts should be attended to and resolved holistically.
“ACZ notes with concern the several responses by the Government of Zimbabwe to the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops Conference which seem to discuss the fact that the Church is called to exercise its prophetic role, which can mean challenging our political leaders on their conduct of affairs, particularly if this affects the people of God,” the ACZ said in a statement.
“We write this message to highlight our concerns and emphasise that; ‘Indeed The March is Not Ended’ unless and until the issues raised by the people of Zimbabwe and also echoed by the Bishops are attended to and resolved holistically.
“We make it abundantly clear that since time immemorial, the Church in Zimbabwe has spoken against injustices and has been consistent in that regard.
“Any view or postulation to the contrary would be an attempt to re-write that narrative in order to promote a negative picture of what the Church stands for.”
The statement by the ACZ was signed by, Ignatios Makumbe, the chairperson of the Diocese of Central Zimbabwe; Godfrey Tawonezvi (Diocese of Matabeleland); Eric Ruwona (Diocese of Manicaland) and Farai Mutamiri Diocese of Harare.
“Church has the Biblical mandate to speak without fear or favour, particularly to a government which believes that the ‘voice of the people is the voice of God’.
“The prophetic ministry of the Church mandates it to speak for God and for his people as it is the Ambassador of Christ and God is appealing through it.
“As Anglican Bishops, we desire to see an engagement of all stakeholders (as requested by the Heads of Christian Denomination ZHOCD) and respect the Constitution of the land and institutions.
“Therefore, for the good of our nation and (Proverbs 11.14), victory for the nation as we, together overcome all our challenges,” the ACZ Bishops said.
They also urged Zimbabweans to pray for peace.
“We also call upon the citizens of the beautiful nation to remain calm, pray for peace and to work towards all that promotes peace and the common good.
“We call upon all Christians and other religions to pray for our leaders and the nation at large, stability and prosperity.
“To our brothers and the Roman Catholic Church, in particular, we say we are holding you in our prayers and may the Blessing of the Almighty God strengthen you and be with you now and forever.”