Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Press Release


For immediate release

Bishop Levee Kadenge says the cholera outbreak in Zimbabwe has crippled the nation. The bishop says his country is ‘under siege and full of distress’.

Bishop Kadenge is the national convenor of the Zimbabwe Christian Alliance, which is supported by Christian Aid.

‘We do not deserve what is happening,’ says Bishop Kadenge. ‘We are demoralised, we have problem after problem. But we must remain faithful to the idea that Zimbabwe will have a good future.’

The cholera outbreak has affected more than 12,000 people and has killed close to 600. It was triggered in part by the breakdown in the country’s infrastructure and healthcare system as well a chronic shortage of clean water.

‘Cholera is just one of the problems faced by Zimbabweans,’ says William Anderson, Christian Aid’s country manager in Harare. ‘Many communicable and treatable diseases are rife due to the complete collapse of all public health systems.

‘Anthrax, TB, malaria, and diarrhoea are all present in the country at unprecedented levels. These are all due to the failed state, malnutrition and HIV.’

Bishop Kadenge stresses the churches have an important role in sending messages of hope and steadfastness to people across the country. He says the establishment of a Commission of Truth and Reconciliation is vital.

‘Such a commission, which must be led by the church and not the politicians, is a priority. We are a wounded people in desperate need of healing. We cannot pretend that nothing has happened. We must do our part and bring people together and repent,’ says the bishop.

Zimbabwe is also facing an extreme food shortage. Mr Anderson says it is ‘verging on famine’.

The UN’s World Food Programme says 4.2 million people need food aid but that it only has funds to feed 3.7 million.

There has also been a worrying spike in abductions of human rights workers in Zimbabwe. On 3 December, Jestina Mukoko, the executive director of the Zimbabwe Peace Project, was abducted from her home. She has not been seen or heard from since then, while the police deny arresting her.

‘We must pray for the future of Zimbabwe,’ says Bishop Kadenge. ‘Civil society organisations, NGOs and human rights groups are all part of God’s broader church and we must keep faith.’


By Judith Melby - Christian Aid

Monday, December 8, 2008



07 – 12 – 2008 Bulletin

The 9th General Assembly of the All Africa Conference of Churches AACC opened in Maputo with a message of hope; “Africa step forth in Hope.” Such a theme is a reminder of the huge responsibility that the Christian Church has in reshaping the African continent for the betterment of our present and future. The theme is a theological reflection on the acclamation of Jesus, “Lazarus come out,” (John 11:43), when he stood face to face with the grave of Lazarus. Such a message is indeed a wake up call to the African Church to be the visible and audible presence of Jesus the Christ to a hurting and despairing continent. Can this theme be the spark that will ignite a genuine prophetic witness?

The message of the 9th General Assembly constituting service resounded with a desire for renewal and relevancy: “Jesus restores life to those whom he resurrects,... In Jesus Christ the power of death is defeated,” declared the Rt Rev Dr Nyatsako –ni-Nku. The bishop went on, to argue that “too many people enjoy unnecessary superfluous life…”, while the challenges of decay face the church. “Jesus wants to set people free from being prisoners of fear, dear and failure,” declared the preacher. Can this be the beginning of honest, faithful, intelligent and practical sermons??? Surely, we have to move on to better preaching, better organizations, value laden worship, relevant religiosity and service. Such worship and service will indeed be an action of faith and courage: “Africa step forth in faith.” We do not need to be prisoners of our dogmatic teachings, prisoners of our archaic traditions, prisoners of our faithless fears, prisoners of our sins and prisoners of our shadows.

The challenges of faith and being Christian today relate to our ability to critique the socio, political, economic and cultural practices that tend to dehumanize the beauty of our relationships in our families, communities, societies, states and in the global environment. Sadly, the manifestations of tensions, wars, and genocide in our beautiful continent are a clear testimony that the church has not been a means of grace. The message of Christ must indeed be a ‘painful’ reminder to those who claim to love and follow Christ, “Tend my sheep” (John 21:17). In order for the Church to remain relevant there has to be a clear commitment to “…Step forth in faith,” the faith that propelled Jesus, the Christ, to shout out for justice and mercy: “But you have neglected the more important matters of the law – justice , mercy and faithfulness.” (Matthew 23:23b).

Let the 9th General Assembly be a path breaking assembly redefining the “Mission Dei” (Mission of God) through the church and setting up a standard that will reincarnate the church amongst real people, real situations and real challenges. God bless Africa and the Church (people).

Sunday, December 7, 2008


United Nations Human Rights CouncilMedia Monitoring Project Zimbabwe (MMPZ)Weekly Media Update 2006-25Monday June 19th 2006 – Sunday June 25th 2006
IN the week under review Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa addressed the newly established United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, during which he provided the institution with a clear example of government’s warped perception on the role of non-governmental organisations operating in the field of good governance and human rights.
SW Radio Africa (22/6) and the Zimbabwe Independent (23/6) reported Chinamasa accusing these NGOs of trying to "destabilise their popularly elected government" after being "clandestinely" and "non-transparently" established by developed countries.
Said Chinamasa: "Their objectives include destabilisation and interference with the evolution of our political process, undermining our sovereignty (and) creating and sustaining local opposition groups that have no local support base".
He then appealed to the new UN council to "prohibit" direct funding of local human rights NGOs by developed countries, saying if "any (financial) assistance is desired" it should only be "channelled through the UN system".
Such unlikely claims and his brazen attempt to seek universal endorsement of government’s determination to further erode civil society’s democratic space serves to expose the authorities’ fear of having their undemocratic conduct subjected to scrutiny.
But while Chinamasa dismissed allegations of human rights violations as "fabrications" of the West and assured the Council that government would uphold the "human rights of all its people" as provided for in "Charter of the United Nations and in our Constitution", events on the ground proved otherwise.
For example, during the week the media carried six fresh cases of rights violations. These included the arrest of members of Women of Zimbabwe Arise, the barring and disruption of MDC gatherings by the police, who justified their actions on grounds that they were merely enforcing the repressive Public Order and Security Act (POSA).
In one of the reports, The Standard (25/6) reported that the CIO had "threatened" some church leaders whom they accused of holding an "illegal" meeting in Highfeild.
Reportedly, one of the pastors, Bishop Levee Kadenge, has subsequently gone "underground after he was threatened with death by a CIO operative" who warned him that the intelligence agency wanted to "wipe him out".
To further illustrate the extent to which the country had become a police state, the paper cited other recent incidents in which "state security agents" had threatened student leaders and workers’ representatives against staging anti-government protests.
Visit the MMPZ fact sheet
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Clergymen arrested, quizzed over 'new party' Standard (Zimb)Date posted:Sun 6-Aug-2006. Date published:Sun 6-Aug-2006, By Foter Dongozi
Back to previous page

Wakatama said police accused them of working on plans to form a new political party, a charge he dismissed outrightly as false.

The government on Friday arrested and detained Methodist Church in Zimbabwe’s Bishop Levee Kadenge and two other pastors in the Christian Alliance as repression escalates in the country. Kadenge was the convenor of the Save Zimbabwe Convention held last Saturday during which leaders of opposition parties pledged to form a broad alliance to fight Zanu PF. Pastors who were arrested include a blind Reverend Ancelimo Magaya and his wife, Daphne, who also acts as his assistant and Reverend Brian Mugwidi also of the Methodist Church in Zimbabwe. Also arrested was newspaper columnist, Pius Wakatama, who is a member of the Christian Alliance’s publicity section. They were arrested at a road-block mounted just outside Harare while they were coming from Bulawayo. Wakatama said they were detained for two hours on Friday at the notorious Law and Order section at Harare Central Police Station. They were ordered to return yesterday and were grilled for three hours. Wakatama said police accused them of working on plans to form a new political party, a charge he dismissed outrightly as false. "We were arrested while coming from Bulawayo where all the bishops from Matabeleland wanted us to brief them on the operations of Christian Alliance. In the end, the police said they were not going to charge us but ordered us to work closely with some bishops who are supportive of the government’s policies," Wakatama said.


20 December 2006
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) wishes to express its concern over the
continued harassment of human rights defenders by the Zimbabwe Republic Police and
other state agents.

ZLHR is aware that on 25 November 2006, at around 06h30, eight (8) police officers,
four (4) of whom were in uniform, attended at the home of Bishop Levee Kadenge at
Number 3, 4th Avenue, Mabelreign, Harare. The policemen told Bishop Kadenge he was
under arrest for allegedly stealing cattle which he had moved to Chivhu. Bishop Kadenge
had indeed moved some of his own cattle to his brother and nephew’s home in Chivhu to
assist them with their farming. One police officer forced Bishop Kadenge to change his
clothes in his bedroom while watching him. The police officers then took the Bishop
from his home and drove to his plot in Sandringham, some 75 km from Harare, to
investigate the issue of the stolen cattle. Bishop Kadenge’s wife who insisted on not
leaving her husband’s side was taken with them.

During the drive to Bishop Kadenge’s Sandringham Plot the police officers interrogated
him on why he was against the land reform programme. One of the police officers went
through his cell phone, and asking him why he had the telephone numbers of certain

After establishing that Bishop Kadenge indeed had cattle at his plot the police officers
insisted on driving to Chivhu, almost 200 km away, to see the eight cattle he had given to
his brother and nephew. On the way to Chivhu the police officers were again
interrogating Bishop Kadenge on his “negative” attitude about the land reform
programme. In Beatrice the police officers stopped for a one-and-a-half-hour lunch,
without any food being given to Bishop Kadenge and his wife, who had been made to
leave their home without having eaten or taken any money. In Chivhu the police officers
saw the eight cattle and could not prove their allegations that there had been three other
stolen cattle; they however told Bishop Kadenge’s brother that they would detain the
Bishop because he had not shown them the permit for moving the cattle to Chivhu. The
Bishop’s brother promised to bring the permit to Harare.

The police officers drove back to Harare and arrived at around 00h45 on Sunday
morning. Bishop Kadenge and his wife were made to sit in the police car at Harare
Central Police Station for at almost 45 minutes. Bishop Kadenge and his wife were
released at around 01h00 on Sunday morning and told to go home without being offered
transport back, such that they had to ask their son to drive them home.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Devotions/Bible Sutdy: For Sunday 30 November 2008 (Subject to review)


Isaiah 2:vs 1-5 and Matthew 24: vs 36-44

The victorious Lord is coming! This indeed is a sign of hope. The temporal nature of life should leave us not only expectant but also with much hope. Life, though short is but purposeful. Let us live like we will have no other life anywhere. This is why the Lord promises us abundant life. It means there is no other life here on earth. When we pray that thy Kingdom come, we should mean it. It must come-here and now. To wait until we die in order to go to heaven might be too late. Life has to be enjoyed here and now.

I want to believe that heaven is here on earth. Hell also is very here and now. We can either enjoy heaven here which we pray for or hell which we invite by the bad way we live. What is interesting though, is that our Lord and Master gives us what not only what we deserve but more. He is a fair and just God. He rules justly and rewards us according to His grace. We do not earn anything but he is not unjust. He rewards justly. He also punishes justly. What is interesting about the good Lord is that he has an open mind. He is not there to fix us. We can only fix ourselves. He loves to see us liberated. He hates it when we imprison ourselves.

Indeed the swords must be turned into plough shares. That which for now scares no longer plays its role. It is turned into good use. Those things/instruments that are used to kill, to steal with, to terrorise people can be turned into useful instruments of peace that can produce food to sustain life. It is only the power and love of God that can make that possible. The Lord can turn the world upside down. The hatred we used to experience can be wiped away at the blinking of the eye if only we reckognise the potential in the Word of God.

Enemies are potential friends. The enemy field is the hunting ground for friends. As we love them we destory their artillery. Their weapons become useless. The only use they can be turned to is to be plough shares. They are not destroyed but their purpose changes. Mozambicans have use that scripture and they attained peace.

When will this happen? Let us not prepare for it. Let us strive to live for the Lord by sharing what we have, by loving one another and loving the unlovable and the Lord will do the rest. No one knows the time except the Father. Even Jesus Christ professes that this issue is hidden even to Him. This is what makes Christianity exciting. We keep on hoping and waiting. It’s His time not ours that matter.



Dealing with conflict and Violence in and through the Church

Marianhill/Durban, South Africa, 26-27 November 2008

(The report that follows is my personal view of what went on. The official report will be made by the conveners of the consultations)

The place was ideal for such a consultation. Marianhill is a Catholic Monastery established in 1882 by Abbot Francis Pfanner. Fr Francis was born in the Austrian village of Langen, Voralberg, 1825. In 1880 he together with 30 companions reached Dunbrody in the Cape Colony after responding to the call by Bishop Ricards of South Africa to the Trappists to establish a monastery in South Africa. A day after Christmas in 1882, having bought a piece of land near Durban, Abbot Francis’ heavily loaded ox wagon got stuck in the mud of the place where Marianhill was eventually built. The consultation was at the retreat centre section of the monastery, which was indeed the right place for the occasion because of its inviting quietness and serenity. It was my first time to sleep in a monastery.

There could not have been a better place than KwaZulu Natal province to discuss peace because this is the place where several thousands (over 20000) people across the political divide died before, during and after the 1994 land mark democratic elections in South Africa. Up to now we are informed the province has scars and is potentially volatile and that violence can happen anytime because of the robust electioneering being promised by both the old and new parties in the making. The old Inkatha Freedom Party IFP and African National Congress ANC rivalry plus the Congress of the People COPE’s new dimension ushering in a new opposition makes the situation rather uncertain.

KwaZulu Natal Council of Churches KZNCC plays a crucial role in making and preserving peace in the province. This is the very reason why it called for the consultation at this critical moment. KZNCC has its own networks and also collaborates with other institutions, civil and other Faith based to grapple with the issue of bringing lasting peace to the province.

The main speaker Professor T. Maluleke, the chair of South Africa Council of Churches SACC declared that “peace is cool….there is nothing sexy about violence.” The inward peace and the outside bliss so much advocated for is mostly seen when someone is dead. We are told that violence and war are inevitable. What we should realize is that violence begets violence. There is violence before the incident of violence and violence itself and after. He went on noting that “peace as absence of violence and war is wrong. Peace is the presence of justice and fairness and truth” Maluleke challenged us to celebrate rituals of peace and not to just follow the world which seems to reward and celebrate violence and war. In another presentation the question was posed, “Is it victory when we end up with people hurting and injured?”

Faith based organizations were best positioned to advocated for peace said Dr R Sathiparsad of the UKZN, because they were value based. They are there to build and sustain peace. They are against violation of human and people’s rights. She even said that the original Jihad in Islam was nonviolent. Values have to be made visible through action. Then we will be walking the talk.

The topic on “The size, nature and impact of conflict and violence in SA today,” was given by Dr Peter Gastrow of the Institute of Security Studies in Cape Town. Peter singled out terms like violence and crime, and violent conflict. There was nothing wrong with conflict. Conflict is neutral. It can be channeled/managed even for the better. His presentation was marked by both the negatives and positives in the trends of crime rate in South Africa. There were certain types of crimes that were decreasing while others were increasing. SA had always to be on the watch to manage crime rate.

Peter categorised violent conflicts into three types: Xenophobic, Community Protests and the new political environment.

Xenophobia: This incident exposed who South Africans where. The notion of a rainbow nation, a nation at peace with itself, loving and caring all that came to an abrupt end when the whole world was bombarded with nasty scenes of violence that was metted on both black foreigners and some SA minorities who lived mostly in informal settlements. For once SA became like other African states. This was it was alleged providential because SA had to join the whole region as an equal brother with concerns that were faced in other parts of the SADC and the continent.

Protest in communities: These were necessary in a changing society. The danger, though, was that some of these turn into violence and examples were given.

New political environment: There was a likely danger of legitimizing violence. The good emerging thing though was the rebuffing, the withdrawal of explosive statements. Politicians failed to control this violence because they did not want to be seen to be week.

Accompanying the consultation was a workbook, which as individuals we were working on by responding to questions posed to help us consolidate what we were receiving from the presenters. Structured questions were asked at each and every turn. These questions ranged from our expectations to analysing each presentation. Our personal involvement in making peace was also challenged in the process. We were always encouraged to look for opportunites to apply what we were learning to our own situations in our different countries and regions.

Day Two began with Bible Study by the CEO of KZNCC Ms Pumzela Zondi-Mazibela. She read from 2 Samuel 11 vs 1-27. We were confronted with violence. We are only told that David envied Bathsheba, Uriah’s wife who he later slept with. David violated both Bathsheba and Uriah’s rights. Uriah is sent to the front of the battle in order to get rid of him. David goes ahead to take Bathsheba for his wife after Uriah had been done away with. The Scripture says “But the thing that David had done displeased the Lord” vs 27. David got off the hook, though because we are told later that he was blessed in his leadership. Does God reward evil doers?

At the end we focused on five critical points to carry on forward:
1. Faith based organizations spearheading and working to prevent xenophobia in SA.
2. Faith based organizations working towards peaceful elections
3. Establishing a Christian nonviolence programmes
4. Developing materials (print, video, etc) on conflict and violence for KZN churches by producing a) Skills and b) telling the success stories
5. Educating young men in the ways of peace. (including with respect to women)

The highlights of the consultation for me was the sharing of success stories by some groups (9 of them) present on the work they were doing in order to bring and maintain peace in the region. Two of these reports touched us all. The first was the Amanzimtoti/Kwa Makuta Initiative. This was an initiative where two congregations, one for blacks and another for whites which are in two diverse communities near each other but divided on the former apartheid racial lines managed to come together. They belong to the same denomination but had nothing to do with each other because of the former policies. The white minister the Rev Anne' Verhoef told us that the first trip to the black community to court friendship was rewarded by his car being stoned. He did not give up working with his black counterpart. The most telling event they had together was that of going out for a weekend together with 15 members from each racial group. The time was short because people were eager to empty themselves and to cry on each others’ shoulders across the racial divide.

The second story was the Newcastle Land Initiative. Two leaders one of the Landless people and of the other of white farmers made very touching presentations respectively. For a long time they had been at each other’s throat. Both physical and verbal abuse was the order of the day and they now regreted ever doing that. Now they have buried the hatchet and some former black landless people have been parceled out land by white farmers and are living in harmony. Both claim they have a lot to learn from each other and they wished if this could be multiplied. They were afraid, though that if this was not taken seriously and multiplied through out the nation some opportunists would soon take advantage and incite people to grab land and thereby disturbing the good work of sharing land going on in the province of KwaZulu Natal.

Delegates from Mozambique and Zimbabwe were also given opportunity to share their own stories. Mozambique representatives presented a very encouraging report of how the Church has managed to raise its head above waters both before the peace accord of 1992 signed in Rome after a sixteen civil strive in that country. The Catholic Church having been the dominant and alligned to the former colonial government had had some advantage from the new government point of view. At independence the communist type of government made the church suffer for a while. The Protestant Church found it a bit difficult to find space at the beginning. But because it was responsible for much of the education for the blacks it gradually gained support. There were moments when both Catholics and Protestants worked together. In other instances the Protestant was left out particularly at the signing of the peace accord though they had done a lot towards the event. After the land mark 1994 elections in which FLERIMO and RENAMO took part in which the RENAMO lost and then refused to accept defeat the Protestant Churches under the Council of Churches CCM have been in the forefront of advocating, maintaining and sustaining peace. The Church has not been infiltrated and they are working together to bring peace to that country. As a result Mozambique, though poor is developing ahead of a number of countries which have strife among themselves.

Zimbabwean delegation made a very revealing report on the current situation in the country whereby the church has been divided for a very long time. Before independence the church both Catholic and Protestant agreed on the evil nature of the colonial regime. There were some who supported the status quo. After independence it’s only Catholics who raised voice against the Matabeleland massacres during the Gukurahundi era. About 20 thousand people perished when the present government brutalized the region in early 1980s. In its Breaking the Silence Report which Catholics produced together with Lawyers for Human rights stunned the whole world. Meanwhile the Protestant Church represented by the Zimbabwe Council of Churches embarked on development programmes and ignored basic social concerns and justice issues. The Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe EFZ initially ignored social matters. From time to time when the church tried to raise its voice it was quickly reminded that its business was to preach the gospel and to give communion and not to discuss political issues. That was the paten until 2005 in May when the government introduced Operation remove dirty named Murambatsvina. This was the breaking point. Churches in Manicaland voiced their displeasure and also Churches in Bulawayo. Churches in Bulawayo went further to invite others across the country to come to an indaba where the issue was discussed thoroughly. This is where some of us from Harare got in the fray. I was among those invited to this meeting in Matopos near Rhodes’ grave. After three days of deliberations we came up with Christian Alliance CA and I was elected its convener. We are like minded Christian leaders (from differnt denominations) who are concerned about solving our crisis in a peaceful, nonviolent and prophetic manner. We were worried that the church had been quite for a very long time and we were providing an alternative voice. For that reason we have been vilified, attacked, demonized, arrested and been put under surveilance. I have been arrested five times without any charge laid against me. We have managed to bring all Democratic forces together. We have made overtures to the ruling party but in most instances we have been rebuffed. We are still confident that one day our hope for a free Zimbabwe through nonviolent method will come through. Recently together with Dr Goodwell Shana, the Head of all Christian Denominations HOD in Zimbabwe I was called to do some internal mediation during the current impasse. We managed to meet with representatives of all the three major parties in the talks including ZANU PF. There is more willingness to work together in the church than before. We are getting there but we still have to meet as a Church and confess our sin of ommission.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Sunday 23 November - Devotions/Bible Study: The King is coming to Judge

The King is coming to Judge (Matthew 25:31-46)

It is a fact that we will be judged for both what we have done wrong and for the good we have not done. We are also judged for the good things we have done and for those bad things we have not done. Does the above sound logical? It appears whatever happens we are judged. Judgement comes whether we have done right or wrong. We are judged by what we have done and not done, period. This means that our lives are under a microscopic scrutiny whether we like it or not. There is no where to hide. It should not surprise us to find out that so many people whom we had written off because they were not Christians like ourselves finding their way to heaven. We are not ruling out the part of faith in our Christian journey.

What shall we do then? Christ went about doing good. He gave no opportunity to idle talk or behaviour. He was a no nonsense person who always looked for opportunities to be of service to the community. If only we get several of these people who look for spaces to fill in, then we are near accomplishing the task - to be imitators of Christ. When we do good to all then we are likely to be judged positivesly. The opposite is true.

The international Elders in the persons of Gracia Machel, Jimmy Carter and Koffi Anan had the desire to come and see for themselves and also convince the world of the agency of the Zimbabwean humanitarian crisis. They were led by their passion to assist. Instead they are denied entry. (This has been widely reported in the international press). They are stopped to help the unbearable situation. Here are people who want to help, who are going about doing good. Those who deny them space will be judged. They stopped people who are eager to help. The Elders need to be encouraged not to give up. The good Lord has already heard their cry to want to help. Their efforts are not in vain. The Lord who even knows what our hearts desire before we even ask for what we want has already answered their prayers for Zimbabwe.

As individuals, let us seek opportunities to help. As we help other people we do that to the Lord. As we deny helpers to come and help we deny the Lord opportunity to help. Who are we to block God? Woe to those who suppress their people by denying them voluntary help. Never associate with the righteous. They are hypocrites. Our leaders say they are protecting us by denying us help just because they claim we are a sovereign nation. They need to be informed in time before they can accept help. This is criminal and evil to say the least. Do not tire to do good. The more you do good to others, the more favorably you will be judged. Let us all aim to do good, whatever it is that can make life different for the suffering is recorded to your favor. God bless.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Church Leaders Initiatives

On Monday 17 November 2008 and the following Tuesday we had very useful meetings with the three political party represenatives in Harare. Dr Goodwell Shana the Head of Church Denominations in Zimbabwe invited me to assist him in intervening in the present crisis. The first person we met was from the MDC-T in the person of Lovemore Moyo the chairman of the party. After him we met Tendai Biti the secretary general of the same party. The following day we met first with Welshman Ncube and Priscila Misihairambwi-Mushonga both from Arthur Mutambara MDC. At mid-day we met Nicholas Goche one of the negotiators from ZANU PF. His counterpart Patrick Chinamasa was on his way to Geneva.

It was good that we met the representatives of these three parties. After listening carefully to all the three groups one thing came out clearly. Though they were all concerned about the other parties machinations other than their own they all showed that individuals in their respective camps were already earmaking themselves for Cabinet posts. For example if the ministry of Health went to MDC-T the concern from the sitting Cabinet minister would be why then has that ministry gone to MDC-T. This is just an example of many instances where various individuals had already positioned themselves for particular posts. This kind of thinking has made life very difficulty for the principals who are lobbied left right and centre.

We felt just short of concluding that the problem hinged on personal ambitions. The nation was being compromised because individuals had already positoned themselves for different Cabinet posts. All the three parties suggested to us that the key person now to talk to was Morgan Tsvangirai. If we managed to convince Tsvangirai that the best move now was to facilitate the formation of a government they were convinced things would move forward. We have not yet made up our minds on this but we are considering that option as we wait for Tsvangirai to come back from an overseas trip so that we meet him and also hear his side of the story.

After the interviews with these guys we felt now we were more informed about this complex situation and we were in a better position to make informed prayers. Though we initially felt demoralised we thanked God that we had gone through this frustrating excercise. We saw that power and control was at the centre of the misunderstanding. There was also mistrust among them. We pray that our leaders put the nation first and not only think of themselves selfishly like that.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Kombi Talk and Sunday Devotions-16 November

Kombi Talk

I have decided to record the talks that I listen to during my journeys from Norton to Harare and back. Norton is 48km west of Harare. A big number of people who live in Norton, work in Harare. They commute everyday to and from Harare. It is during these journeys that I record stories that are shared when people are traveling. Most people here do not have a reading culture so the oral nature of us, take the upper hand.

Tuesday 11 November: The first issue raised was about the deteriorating situation of our economy. We were passing a farm just outside Norton owned by a retired army general Zvinavashe. The comment went like this, “Look its all wasteland. When whites were still here this land was ever green. Now it’s bare. They wait for rains. So people expect hunger to go away?” This guy went on, “Whites know how to run businesses. Put a white man at the Reserve Bank and you will see change from day one.”

The second issue which was shared by most of the people in the Combi was about relationships between Land Lords and Tenants. One woman started sharing about her troubles with her Land Lady. Those near her joined in the discussion until it spread to most of the Combi. The main issue raised was about Land Lords who raised rent because they were jealousy. It was alleged that once they saw you living well they begin to ask for help. For instance, they ask for cooking oil and other groceries which they do not return. When you ask back for what they would have taken you are treated badly or you are sent away. Another woman who joined in said that her rentals were 150 Rands per room per month but it was raised this month to 300 Rands per room per month. She declared that she was leaving that place. Christian Land Lords came under a very strong attack. One woman said that: “The worst Land Lords are Christians. I had a Land Lady who belonged to ZAOGA church. “These people cry when they worship but that is faking. They are just rough. At their homes they treat us like dogs. But listen to them when they pray, they are hypocrites.” Another woman nearby said that she had a Catholic Land Lady who had a position at Church and she alleged that she was so cruel. It was also alleged that some Land Lords also steal. “I had gone to church but my maid remained and my Land Lady thought we had all gone. She went into the house and was taking things and as she was caught red handed she started saying that her child had thrown her toy under the sofa,” she alleged.

The third issue was on witch craft. This issue developed from the Land Lord problems. The woman who raised the issue said that she once stayed at a place where the Land Lady was a witch. She alleged that when she had given birth her child used to cry uncontrollably. She could tell that there was somebody at the door. One day she woke up and opened the door and this woman moved away but she had seen her. A man told of a story when he caught his Land Lady on his door. When he opened the door she ran away through the window. Another woman interjected and said that it was impossible for one to see a witch and live again. She sighted so many instances when one came face to face with a witch and died. There was a time when a witch was spotted in Norton and people came to see the witch. The woman said that the first person to see that witch died three days later. The man besides me said that he once stayed at a place where there were lots of vegetables. A woman came wanting to buy vegetables and she was denied them. She went away but in the evening hell broke lose when around 3.00am there was noise outside of something which appeared was flapping ears like a donkey. No one could venture go outside. Early in the morning they saw the garden bare. All the vegetables had been cut and taken away.

After 50 minutes journey we arrived safely.

16 November Devotions
Moses pointed to the coming Messiah (Deuteronomy: 18 vs 14-22)
While the Old Testament is instructive and complete, it is also a prelude to the coming Christ the Messiah. The OT makes it clear that what was there was not perfect. It was only Christ the Messiah who was capable of making all things new. It is not surprising that when Christ came on the scene he was described by John the Baptist like the one, “…whose sandals I am not fit to carry.” Both Moses and John the Baptist elevate Jesus above all creation because He is God’s Son whom the voice of the spirit says, “This is my Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:vs 17)

The people had asked Moses to protect them from God who was so powerful that at his sight they trembled. Moses assured them that God had a plan of sending someone like him. The conditions set for His coming was that the people would listen to Him. He would be the representative of God. He would dwell among them and His message would be true. Moses compares any messenger who brings false message as not from God and was not worth listening to.

When Peter had healed a crippled man and people responded like he was God he was quick to point the success of his work to Jesus whom they had crucified.(Acts 3 1-25). He says to them, “It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has given this complete healing to him, as you can all see.” (Vs 16). Salvation is for those that come to the Lord in repentance. God is ready to forgive our sins each time we come to him. God makes all things become new.

Christ comes with the message of love. He teaches people to love even their enemies contrary to what had been taught in the OT. In Matthew (5: vs 38-48) we are instructed by Christ not to revenge but even to go further to humble the evil doer by going an extra mile. This is the way to defeat the evil man. The enemy is not an object of hate but a subject of prayer. When we have started loving our enemies they cease to be enemies but become friends. That is the challenge of the message of God to us. This is made possible by the coming of Christ whom Moses pointed to. Christ is there for us to listen to Him and to obey His instructions to love one another. Moses will not turn in his grave when we follow the teachings of Christ.

Do we go into a struggle because we hate the oppressors or we do it because we love both the people and the oppressors? True liberation liberates both the oppressor and the oppressed. Whenever we are angered by our oppressors let us be reminded of this wonderful teaching of loving and praying for the enemy. This does not stop us from hating the wrong things done by the enemy. The enemy has to be wan over so that he/she also receives salvation. Then and then only will we get our reward for having converted the enemy. Moses the liberator of the people of Israel pointed to the coming Messiah as an example of all time. Jesus like Moses is a liberator. He came to set us free from the bondage of sin. God bless.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Black Sunday

Black Sunday
The events of Sunday was shuttering to Zimbabweans. We were all waiting for a solution that would help us come out of the crisis that we are in. The decision by the SADC group to force the two contending parties, ZANU PF and MDC to share the ministry of Home Affairs was not a wise move because there is love lost between these parties. "Where has this happened?" commented one passenger on his way to town early morning on Monday to work on the outcome of the talks. "These guys cannot work together even in an inclusive government. Let's just go for another election and come up with a new government," suggested another passenger. The bus was full and we were all listening including those from the security forces who normally get free rides.Whatever decision Morgan Tsvangirai was going to make Zimbabweans were bound to raise questions. If he had agreed many of his supporters were going to raise questions and would have accused him of accepting a bad deal. On the other hand as he did refusing the proposal from SADC is seen by his opponents as selling out. There was no need to go all the way to sign an agreement as they did on 15 September without having agreed on ministerial posts. It was a premature act to sign. But still the opposition was under pressure. Now that they are negotiating after they had signed makes it difficult for the opposition to be seen to be genuine in their demands without being accused of being lovers of positions only. This saga seems to be going to be with us for a very long time.The nation is confused. Is there hope for his nation? Yes there is hope. This maybe the way the issue should be take to AU but these are the same African brother leaders who protect each other come what amy. Those coming from outside particularly the opposition have to lose limb and life to get to power. What a shame! We were told that the bullet is mightier than the ballot.Can the United bring hope by conducting fresh elections here. It seems this is the last thing the ruling ZANU PF would want to entertain. Perhaps the problems we are facing are a prelude to good things to come. These are the birth pangs, some are saying. We just continue to wait and see. Zimbabweans are peace lovers and we are proud of that. God Save Zimbabwe.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Abram Was Righteous Through Faith

(Watch out for this devotional space every Sunday. I am hoping to increase it to producing it daily.)

Christian journey should always put faith at its centre.(Genesis 13 1-18) When Abram was on his journey to the place God had promised him he took with him his brother Lot. On the way their possessions which included animals were so many that their herdsman began to quarrel. This necessitated their parting ways. Abram asked Lot to make a choice of where to go. He could have just told Lot to move to some other place and he remained where he was. In fact he asked Lot to make a choice. Abram had confidence in God. He did not make his choice first. He knew God would not let him down. He had total faith in God. After Lot had made his choice of land God came with a message of all time: “Lift up your eyes from where you are and look north, south, east and west. All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring for ever. I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth, so that if anyone could count the dust, then your offspring could be counted.” Vs 16.

The choice had to be made because there had been quarrels between Abram and Lot’s herdsmen. Since Abram had come up with the suggestion it could have sounded natural for him to have done his home work and schemed to take the good land. Instead he says “If you go to the left, I go to the right; if you go to the right, I go to left.” Vs 9.

It follows that when we have faith in God we are not selfish. We want others to have their way first. This we do because we are confident in God who is in charge of our well being. When we do not have faith in God we become schemers, crafters, selfish and greedy. We have no time to give God a chance.

Paul calls Galatians foolish.(Gal 3 vs 1). He had for some time observed them doing well in their faith but at this point they were now turning to human effort.(Vs 3) Paul had noticed that there was a lot of lobbying and seeking for positions using human effort and not waiting upon the Lord. He was appealing to them to have the faith that was in Abram.

The challenge is to us all. The moment we trust in ourselves and not in God we develop all sorts of negatives and selfish desires in our lives. We begin to not trust in God for our needs. We can do anything to get what we want. Some can even kill for Zuma to be made president and not to put their faith in their electoral system. Here at home Zimbabwean politicians do not trust their own people so they beat them to vote for them. What a travesty! Let us learn from Abram who was blessed because of his faith in God. Faith in God will never let us down, instead we will be blessed over and over. Abram at the end got the best. Barack Obam in his book "The Audacity of Hope" which I finished reading a few days before he wan the presidential election has demonstrated how hope and faith in God can do to us. Let’s try faith. God bless.

Zimbabwe Church Communication

Zimbabwe Church Communication – 4th November 2008:

This communiqué serves to inform the church in Zimbabwe as well as brothers and sisters around the world, that on Monday 3rd November leaders of Heads of Christian Denomination, Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace, Zimbabwe National Pastors Conference, Christian Alliance, Anglican Diocese of Harare, Ecumenical Support Services & New Frontiers- Zimbabwe gathered in Harare. This meeting of church leaders agreed the following:

1. The church in general has been divided and as such has been unable to satisfactorily meet the physical, moral and spiritual needs of the nation which is now in absolute crisis.

2. The church must genuinely repent to God and the suffering people of Zimbabwe for not fulfiling the two greatest commandments: ‘Love the Lord thy God’ and ‘Love thy neighbour.’

3. The church must now demonstrate genuine unity by standing with the poor, weak, suffering and oppressed people.

4. This movement for reconciliation and healing must rapidly gather momentum and cascade throughout the church, her leadership, structures and people. Only then will the church be able to address reconciliation and healing in Zimbabwe.

5. A consultation will take place soon to ensure a wider representation of church leaders can congregate to repent and prepare to be the moral and spiritual conscience of the nation by positioning herself at the heart of the reconstruction of Zimbabwe.

On behalf of the church in Zimbabwe:
Dr Goodwill Shana Head of Christian Denominations (EFZ, ZCBC, ZCC)
Jonah Gokova Zimbabwe National Pastors Conference
Bishop Levee Kadenge Christian Alliance

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Visit to WCC/WSCF- Geneva - 26-30 October 2008

This visit has been a life time expereince. The day I arrived in Geneva was like coming back home after I had been here in 1984 when I and my family attended a week meeting at Caux just outside Geneva town. The place I had not been to but was always praying that I visit one day was the WCC. It happened on 27 October when Marlon Zakeyo the head of the Zimbabwe Advocacy Office at WSCF minded me to the Headquarters of the WCC. The first encounter with this historic Ecumenical Movement was to attend a prayer session led by Dr Kjell Nordstokke a director with WLF. It was indeed a very wonderful experience. I was welcomed by Dr Nordstokke just before he started the service. There were also many visitors who had come from all over the world to the LWF annual meetings they hold at their Headquarters within the WCC complex. I was happy to meet the Rev Enos Moyo a fellow Zimbabwean whom I last met in 1981 when we were both students of theology at Untied Theological College in Harare. He is now working with LWF and he is based in Zambia.

After the prayers I was introduced to Rev Michael Wallace the General Secretary of WSCF. The first meeting I had with Michael was really an eye opener. All that I had read, heard and thought about WSCF was personified in this humble but sharp person who was always displaying his charm at each and every corner. After sharing our experiences with the office I was invited to their Monday morning staff meeting. There were two workers who were beginning work and were welcomed by a drink and some eats. I thought that was very encouraging to the new staff and also to me who was vsiting for the first time.

By 12 noon we were on a two hour train trip to Bern, the capital of Switzerland. We were scheduled to meet with the officials of the foreign ministry. We had a very informative and inspiring meeting with Ralf Heckner the Head of Human Rights Policy Section. What impressed me most was his preparedness to spare some quality time to listen to ouzr story. He explained their role and position as a department and their concern about our current situation in Zimbabwe. We were happy to show the face of the struggle of the people back home.

In the evening we had dinner with Barbara Muller of FEPA and colleagues, Andreas Loebell formerly of Heks, Prudence from Youth Ahead in Zimbabwe and Fr Josef Elsener who used to work at Imbisa in Zimbabwe who now lives at the Bethelhem Mission Immensee in Tragerschaft. It was indeed a heart welcome from Fr Elsener who was so excited to meet me after such a long time. I was equally surprised to meet him in Switzerland and I could not hide my pleasure to meet him again.

The following day was just packed with meetings. My first meeting was with Nyaradzai Gumbonzvanda the General Secretary of the YWCA at their headquarters who was later joined by Dr Helene Yinda the Africa desk representative at the YWCA. Our meeting was cut short because a taxi was waiting for us to go to a live radio interview. The World Radio Switzerland person was so charming and he straight away went with me into the studio. After a short briefing he went straight to interview me live on the radio for twenty minutes. I enjoyed every minute of the programme. He raised so many pertinent issues concerning the Zimbabwean tragedy. (See also transcript).

At lunch time I addressed a tray lunch meeting which was well attended. I also sope about the Zimbabweean crisis. (Report of the meeting was done by YWCA).

This was followed by a press conference which was held at the same venue of which a report was done by the ENI as posted on the blogger.

At 4.oopm we held our first meeting of the Zimbabwe Reference Group. Five of us attended and very fruitfull contributions were made. Marlon explained the main objectives and we ended the meeting agreeing that we should at least meet twice a year.

The day ended with dinner in my honour at Restaurant Auberge du Grand Saconnex. It was a well deserved dinner after having not eatten anything during the day because there was no time to eat.

I could not fulfill my trip to Brussels for various reasons which included that I had actually not been very keen to go there and also that there was some unfinished business at the WCC. I had not had opportunity to meet with the General Secretary of the WCC who had actually made space for me for the following day.

On the third day my first assignment was to go to Bossey Ecumenical Training Centre just outside Geneva Contone/County. Thanks to Marsha Lougheed Paige who was so kind to offer to drive me to Bossey in their family car. It was a wonderfull experience for me to visit Bossey. I had read and heard about this centre of excellency and had never dreamt of visiting it one day. So my encounter with this place of theological learning was an added bonus to my delayed experinec of this historic institution.

Back at WCC the Rev Dr Sam Kobia the General Secretary of WCC was waiting to welcome me into his office. For me that was the climax of my visit to Geneva. He had given me a space of 30 minutes and I ended being there for 45 minutes. I enjoyed every minutes I was sharing with this wonderful man of God. We talked about many things ranging from Zimbabwean crisis to the role the Church in our situation. Dr Kobia was really appreciative of what Zimbabwe Christian Alliance was doing. We also lamented the fact that many NCCs were in most cases not being proactive in times they were required to take the lead in such difficult times like these.

The day end with Andres going through with me on the process of opening a personal blogger for myself. I am glad and thankful to Andres Lopez to have initiated me into the blogger world. Thank you young man. God Bless.

The following day was a time to wind up and do some shopping before going home in the evening. I had to finish my assignment with Nyaradzai of YWCA. Marlon accompanied me to the YWCA headquartes and we had an hour meeting which we looked at the concerns Nyaradzai had raised. We all agreed that the politics in Zimbabwe were making it worse for those who were distributing food to work freely. We talked about the gender imbalance in the negotiations where only one woman was on the pannel of ten negotiators. As for the question of safety of some of us we came to the conclusion that once one has offered to speak the truth one is bound to be attacked. The important thing for those of us with faith is to have trust in the Lord who has promised to protect us to the end.