HARARE – Prayer Network of Zimbabwe (PNZ) yesterday staged a demonstration castigating the national pledge which was recently introduced in schools, describing the idea as a direct affront on Christianity.
The PNZ, an interdenominational Christian group, said Primary and Secondary Education minister Lazarus Dokora should revoke the directive forthwith.
The national pledge was introduced at all public schools at the start of the new term.
Parents and churches were up in arms against the pledge, which children are made to recite every day after singing the national anthem.
In it, children pledge their allegiance to God and the national flag and pay their respects to “brave fathers and mothers who lost their lives in the Chimurenga (Zimbabwe’s 1970s war for independence against the minority white-led government).”
PNZ board member Roddy Takaruza told the Daily News that despite the country’s many unanswered questions, government had preoccupied themselves with forcing children to recite a pledge which he said was inculcating ungodly values in children.
“This is a message to government that they should and must see to it that Christianity must be respected. We believe that if Christianity is adulterated in such a way, government is only applying for mayhem,” Takaruza warned.
He said the pledge is a clear attempt by Dokora to weaken the Christian faith by eroding the beliefs that people have.
“We believe that our children should also be taught in Christian values and when he is attacking our children using the pledge, it means that he is forcing them away from the values we believe in,” Takaruza said.
Women of Zimbabwe Arise (Woza) founder Jenni Williams, said they will insist that government stops schools from forcing children to recite the pledge.
“You took our farms and we kept quiet. You went after businesses and we remained silent again.
“Now you want to go after our religion, that we cannot sit back and remain silent,” Williams said.
Felistas Homela, parent to a Grade Three pupil in Budiriro, said she is not comfortable having her child recite the pledge, claiming parents were not consulted.
“Now our children are busy saluting the blood of people instead of the blood of Jesus Christ.
“This is an abomination. Madzinza emagamba iwayo munoda kuti aturirwe nevana vechikoro munoti vanozvizivira kupi izvozvo. (You want the brave fathers and mothers who lost their lives in the Chimurenga to be appeased by children, what do they know about this?)
“We understand there are different religions in Zimbabwe and, that, they should respect,” she said.
A ministry official accepted the petition on behalf of Dokora.
“We have seen your petition and we shall sit with officials to find a way forward with regards to your concerns,” the Education official, only identified as Muzawazi, said.