Churches eager to play role in brokering dialogue

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CHURCHES have said they are ready to play a leading role in solving the Zimbabwe crisis by bringing all stakeholders to the negotiating table to iron out differences haunting the country.
This follows a fresh push by the church to persuade President Emmerson Mnangagwa, MDC Alliance leader Nelson
Chamisa and other key stakeholders to engage each other to help end the country’s myriad challenges.

The secretary general of the Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe (EFZ), Blessings Makwara, said churches must
come together to solve the Zimbabwe crisis.

“It is key to ensure churches’ different mother bodies who are already engaged in the manifold processes can be
supported. “On churches bringing all stakeholders to the negotiating table, this has been demonstrated in the past to be possible. With the Lord, all things are possible. Obviously for some, the table is not a good place for their own interests but this doesn’t stop progress if there is growing national consensus.

“At community levels, yes churches could champion consensus development processes or projects which will help the nation as broad-based inputs are essential in addressing challenges/ crises in the nation. Roles obviously require minimum capabilities which are not evenly distributed hence the need to collaborate for the national consensus processes,” Makwara said.

All this comes as calls for much-needed national dialogue have now reached a crescendo, amid the determined efforts by South Africa to help end Zimbabwe’s recurrent problems.

Recently, while addressing the Zanu PF politburo, Mnangagwa repeated his calls for dialogue among Zimbabweans, to engender local peace. “This morning, I was pleased to receive a delegation from the Zimbabwe Heads of Christian Denominations (ZHOCD) which comprised the leadership of the Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe,
Catholic bishops, Zimbabwe Council of Churches and the indigenous churches.

“Dialogue must be encouraged throughout all sections of our society in the spirit of constructive engagement, among others. “This is the culture of the second republic, of national building … peace… harmony … unity and love as we develop the Zimbabwe we love,” Mnangagwa said.

Mnangagwa also told the politburo that he had met them ZHOCD and Catholic bishops as part of his efforts to engage with key stakeholders in the  country.

The meeting with clerics, especially the Catholic bishops, came after they had sharply criticised the government’s handling of the foiled July 31 mass protests in a letter.

In particular, the C a t h o l i c bishops’ letter in which they said “the march has not ended”, did not go down well with the government — which sternly warned clerics against dabbling in politics.

Leading clerics have consistently said that they preferred locally-mediated national dialogue further dismissing calls for a foreign mediator by the opposition and some civil society organisations.

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