By Anna Chibamu
THE Zimbabwe Heads of Christian Denominations (ZHoCD) has approached leading political figures in the country including President Emmerson Mnangagwa and MDC leader Nelson Chamisa with a proposal to suspend electoral processes in Zimbabwe for seven years.
In a statement, ZHoCD executive secretary Rev Kenneth Mutata, on Tuesday, the ZHCD said the church was calling for a ‘Sabbath’ on political contestation in Zimbabwe to allow for the rebuilding of trust and confidence and chart a way forward towards a comprehensive economic recovery path in a non-political environment.
“The church leaders are proposing a national seven-year Sabbath for the purposes of establishing an emergency recovery mechanism to address the dire national situation for the most vulnerable communities, re-building trust and confidence by healing all the hurts of the past,” said Mutata.
The opposition MDC led by Chamisa has also consistently called for a national transitional authority to stabilise the country and implement social, political as well as economic reforms before free and fair elections.
However, the MDC has not given a timeline and wants President Mnangagwa who won controversial elections last July to relinquish power arguing his legitimacy remains in question.
Mutata however said this was not a call for a government of national unity.
“The Sabbath proposal entails the suspension of the constitutional provision on elections but such a deficiency will be redressed through a national referendum. The national referendum question would seek to ascertain from the people whether they agree with a seven-year suspension of all political contestation for the sake of rebuilding the nation.
“Church leaders are not proposing any tailed government structure of the Sabbath season as such implementation structure must emerge from a process of consultation of citizens,” Mutata said.
He added: “The assumption is that once the principle receives national acceptance the rough the referendum, a consultative process to design the operationalisation framework of the Sabbath season will be established through broad-based.”
Zimbabwe is in the throes of a deepening socio-economic crisis with President Mnangagwa looking more unsure of what needs to be done with each passing day to reverse the situation.