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Catholic Bishops Urge ED To Show ‘Political Charity’, Embrace Opponents

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By Staff Reporter


THE Zimbabwe Council of Bishops Conference of Zimbabwe (ZCBC) has penned another Pastoral Letter to President Emmerson Mnangagwa, this time urging the national leader and his administration to show “political charity” and “extend a hand of welcome to all the opposition parties”.

In their latest Pastoral Letter ahead of the Advent 2020 period, the Bishops highlighted the importance of solidarity, national cohesion, and reconciliation in the troubled southern African nation.

“If we are to care truly for each other, we need to begin by looking at the relationship between people, a true human and humane community can break out of the indifference brought about by consumerism and lack of political charity,” the Bishops wrote.

“Politics without charity can never bring about the common good,” they noted before calling on politicians to practice politics that is inspired “by the encounter with Christ and imbued with love and political charity.”

The men of cloth went on to urge Mnangagwa to seize the opportunity brought by the Advent and “extend a hand of welcome to all the opposition parties so that advent hope can be rekindled among our suffering people.”

In the Pastoral Letter, the Bishops said they were inspired by the word “Advent,” meaning “behold I come. Prepare the way for the Lord, make His path straight (in all) socio-political, economic and religious spheres of life.”

“It is the Lord Jesus who comes to live among us in order to renew us. The coming of the Lord is also a coming of new things, new ideas, a renewed hope in Him and in each other and what we are capable of doing together if only we can trust, reach out and find each other across our set social and political boundaries.

“Whatever our circumstances as individuals, as families, as communities, as a nation, and at a global level, this is the time we look forward to the good news that comes with the grace of our Lord.”

The priests acknowledged that for Zimbabwe, 2020 had been particularly a “difficult journey this year,” and called on every citizen to put the common good at the heart of Zimbabwe’s recovery plans.

“We need to help each other. Simply being kind is one small way to do this. Returning to communal liturgical celebrations will foster communion among us. Let us use our time to talk creatively, positively and concretely about the future we dream and desire to build the Zimbabwe we want.”

The message from the Bishops comes when Harare has sought help from South Africa and Kenya to extradite former Zanu PF G40 faction members who fled into exile after Mnangagwa was installed as president following a military coup in November 2017 that removed the now late Robert Mugabe from office.

The state has brought forward a number of corruption charges against them. However, Kenya and South Africa seem not to be interested in the Zimbabwe government’s request as the affected former ministers have pointed out the charges levelled against them were politically framed by their erstwhile colleagues.

MDC Alliance-led Nelson Chamisa has also accused Mnangagwa and his colleagues of abusing state organs including the courts to interfere with the opposition party’s internal affairs.

This has resulted in the recalling of scores of MDC Alliance MPs and councillors from Parliament and local councils. The MDC Alliance was also forcefully removed from Harvest House a few months ago and the opposition party claims the police and army officers were involved in their unlawful eviction.

This week, Zanu PF acting national spokesperson Patrick Chinamasa described Chamisa as a “treasonous” opposition leader.

In July this year, the Catholic Bishops came under fire from Zanu PF and the government after they demanded that the state should stop desist from abducting political activists, torture, and should uphold the rule, and end the suffering among the citizens by ending corruption.

An angry Mnangagwa responded by calling the Bishops unholy and challenged them to remove their cleric robes and join him in the political arena.