Churches call for inclusivity


THE Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC) has called for a different approach to tackling the country’s myriad challenges, including the worsening political and economic crises, the Daily News On Sunday reports.

This comes as the ZCC and other local church groupings have joined the growing calls for dialogue between President Emmerson Mnangagwa and opposition leader Nelson Chamisa to help end the country’s current difficulties.

The ZCC said yesterday that it was calling for a new way of thinking dubbed “the third way” — which was based on inclusivity and a shared vision for the country to solve the prevailing challenges.
ZCC secretary-general Kenneth Mtata, pictured, said the country’s crises now required a way of thinking that went beyond the norm or the pursuit of individual desires.

“The third way of thinking is different from the first way of thinking which says it’s my way. It is also different from the second way of thinking which says it’s your way.

“The third way of thinking is an inclusive way of thinking which says it’s our way and I think this is the kind of thinking that we should introduce to solve our situation in Zimbabwe.

“The third way of thinking can deepen the way we build consensus towards a new transformative national order, even though we know that there are many deep differences among Zimbabweans,” Mtata said.

“It can also create a new sense of national re-imagination to restart the nation on the basis of values of unity, justice and economic inclusion. This is the kind of thinking that we view as the third way thinking as the church, and we desperately need this to address the challenges we are facing in our nation,” he said further.

The respected clergyman also said the church would continue to advocate for an inclusive and consensus-based dialogue, as it was the only way that the country could resolve the past, address its economic challenges and move forward.

“What we are advocating for is a consensus model which can happen at the grassroots level, where there is an enlightened citizenry, at civil society level where we have churches, the media and different organised actors participating in agenda setting and the third level where political actors provide a consensus which allows for collaboration.

“This is going to be our focus for this year and it will inform the work that we will do for this year despite the resistance and criticism that we are facing,” Mtata said.

Zimbabwe’s mega economic crisis has heightened calls for dialogue between Mnangagwa and Chamisa — which is seen as the only way to stop the country from plunging into total chaos.

Former South African President Thabo Mbeki has been trying to mediate in the local crisis.
However, the prospects of him succeeding in this regard have dimmed following the government’s rejection of his involvement in the much-talked about dialogue.

Mbeki — who helped to broker the stability-inducing 2008 government of national unity between former opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai and ex-president Robert Mugabe, who are both late — was in the country last December to try and nudge Mnangagwa and Chamisa to hold direct talks.

Previously, both Mnangagwa and Chamisa have said that they were interested in dialogue, although nothing concrete has developed despite those encouraging statements.

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