Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Church Speaks



We members of the Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC) meeting at Kentucky Airport hotel during the National Executive meeting on the 27th of October 2009 acknowledged the promising positive national developments that we participated in at various levels following the signing of the Global political Agreement (GPA) and the setting up of the Government of National Unity (GNU). The positive developments include the initiation of such important processes as economic reform, national healing and reconciliation and constitutional reform. We however, noted with great concern that these processes have been grossly affected by the following:

  1. It is now just over a year since the signing of the GPA and eight months since the GNU came into being. Yet there is no full compliance with the terms of the GPA as a number of significant issues are still unresolved. Among these we note the delay in the appointment of provincial governors and one deputy minister of agriculture.
  2. The disengagement by the MDC-T over issues of non-compliance.
  3. The apparent lack of political will in resolving the political impasse in Zimbabwe which has created a lot of anxiety among the people.
  4. The delays, uncertainty and lack of transparency in constitutional reform and national healing processes.
  5. The continued biased reporting by sections of the media has further rendered the GPA very fragile.
  6. The general uncertainty that has grabbed the whole nation has eroded investor confidence in our beautiful country.
  7. Poor remuneration of both public and private sector employees.
  8. The difficulties people face in raising school fees and exam fees. The continued subsidising of teachers' salaries by parents who are already overburdened by economic hardships.
  9. The continued deterioration of the health services.
  10. Continued exploitation of the unemployed and rural poor who have to barter their possessions in the desperate search for the limited foreign currency
  11. Continued land invasions and acts of violence and intimidation in parts of the country some of which have resulted in internal displacements.
  12. Political elements determined to derail the nation building process.
  13. Continued manipulation and closure of democratic space and selective application of the law using such draconian legislation as POSA and AIPPA.

The people of Zimbabwe have suffered for too long due to problems that can be resolved amicably. They are looking to the leaders to be more magnanimous and conscientious of their plight each time they meet to deliberate on the future of our nation.

We therefore call upon:

· the principals to the GPA to fully commit themselves to addressing expeditiously outstanding issues of the GPA.

· the principals and their political parties to respect the lives of Zimbabweans and put their selfish interests aside and build the once beautiful land of Zimbabwe.

· the MDC-T to revisit its decision of withdrawal from the Cabinet and Council of Ministers and ascertain whether such decision shall enhance the well-being of Zimbabweans.

· ZANU – PF to respect the terms of the GPA and fully commit themselves to addressing outstanding issues.

· those perpetuating division and polarization to stop all beatings, false accusations, torture, intimidation and any threats and redirect such energy towards nation building.

· the government to repeal repressive laws and create more democratic space for people as a necessary condition for genuine constitutional reform, and true national healing and reconciliation.

· SADC, as guarantor of the GPA, to ensure that the principals from the three political parties comply with the terms of the agreement.

· all Christians and all people of good will in Zimbabwe, SADC, Africa and the whole world to continue to teach and preach the message of hope and peace, and pray with and for us that God may give us guidance, wisdom and courage as we labour to resolve the political, economic, leadership and moral crisis bedevilling Zimbabwe.

We urge:

· the regional and international community to accompany us in the process of nation building

· all faithfuls that hope is not lost, our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ is with us as we journey in our political wilderness. Let us remain resolute and prayerful knowing that the just shall live by faith and the wicked will not escape God's wrath. (Romans 1v17)

We commit ourselves to:

· Facilitate dialogue as we build our nation.

· Our readiness to engage with all stakeholders for the common good of all Zimbabweans.

· Facilitate peace building, national healing and reconciliation. This includes speaking and preaching against violence in all its forms without fear or favour.

· Continued building the spirit of tolerance through the ‘Love thy neighbour’, principle.

We continue as your shepherds to pray and seek God's guidance as we together fight against evil forces that seek to derail our nation building knowing that good shall prevail over evil.

We remain in God's presence

ZCC Heads of Member Churches

Monday, October 12, 2009

Let's not dwell on Trivialities

Press Communiqué

The Debate Over President Mugabe's Visit to Switzerland

09 October 2009

During the course of this week, the Zimbabwe Advocacy Office in Geneva (ZAO), has received several media requests to comment on the controversy surrounding the invitation of President Robert Mugabe to attend the ITU TELECOMMS Summit in Switzerland, particularly in the wake of the scandal involving the now-terminated business dealings between Nestlé's Zimbabwe subsidiary and the Mugabe family.

We therefore issue this statement to express our views on the matter. The ZAO accepts the position of the International Telecommunications Union regarding UN protocol under which all Heads of States and Governments are invited to the global body's events regardless of

their human rights record. Even though President Mugabe and about 213 other members of his party are under restrictive travel, financial and arms trade measures imposed by the Swiss Federal Government and the EU, the people of Zimbabwe themselves are not under any international sanctions. We therefore take no issue with the ITU or Swiss government allowing President Mugabe to travel to Switzerland.

However we deplore any attempts by government leaders to abuse United Nations and other multilateral platforms as avenues for political grandstanding and evading international restrictive measures. Whilst President Mugabe predictably used this opportunity to rail against Western 'sanctions' and independent media in Zimbabwe, long-suffering Zimbabwean families would derive no economic benefit whatsoever from this latest international presidential trip.

It is more critical to point out that the policies and mismanagement of national wealth by members of the ZANU PF-led government have directly led to the economic collapse in the country which is being further jeopardised by ZANU PF's reluctance to implement the 2008 Global Political Agreement in earnest. There are only 2.8 telephone lines for every 100 Zimbabweans and only 1.1 internet hosts for every 1'000 Zimbabweans. On top of this the government continues to monopolise the airwaves, maintaining laws and structures that inhibit the freedom of independent Zimbabwean media organisations and entrepreneurs to practice their trade at home and broadcast to the nation.

Recently President Mugabe's party demonstrated its lack of commitment to genuine democratic reforms when irregularly appointing 8 retired military personnel and other loyalists to various media commissions and boards contrary to the spirit of the Global Political Agreement. The continued use of hateful and intolerant language in public discourse and the use of 'war' language by the chief of the Zimbabwe National Army in relation to Zimbabwean internet media organisations broadcasting from abroad are also major causes for concern.

Following almost a decade of tensions, the Government of Zimbabwe now has a clear opportunity to demonstrate its commitment to the guiding principles of the United Nations and being accepted back among the community of nations through constructive engagement and practical measures. Since independence in 1980, Zimbabwe has not allowed even a single visit of UN Human Rights Independent Experts despite a litany of requests stretching as far back as 2000. Allowing these assessment visits to take place and perhaps offer technical support will be a welcome step in demonstrating Zimbabwe's commitment to working with the UN and international community towards genuine peace and reform.

The ZAO therefore calls upon the media and international community not to be distracted by futile

debates on whether or not President Mugabe and other repressive leaders should attend UN events or not, but focus on engaging and challenging them with facts and evidence of the widespread suffering being caused by their anti-democratic rule.

bout Us

The Zimbabwe Advocacy Office is an independent organisation established as a joint collaboration of the Foundation for Partnership and Development in Africa (FEPA), the World Student Christian Federation (WSCF) and Swiss-based Zimbabwean human rights defenders. ZAO is based in Geneva, Switzerland.

Monday, August 31, 2009


So many Christians are confused as to whether God endorses particular rulers or systems of government. Whatever views one holds on this matter are bound to influence one’s attitudes and decisions on such issues as governance, voting, constitution writing or advocacy for democracy and justice.

At the height of colonial oppression we often heard that working towards regime change was evil. “Why?” I asked a Christian leader whose views seemed to be influenced by the fact that he was a beneficiary of the political status quo. The quick answer I got was from Romans 13:1-2: “Everyone must submit himself to the government authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgement on themselves”

The same verses could easily have been quoted by those Christians who benefited from and supported the corrupt and oppressive regimes of Hitler, Idi Amin or Mobutu. When those regimes were toppled, beneficiaries of the new regimes would quote the same verses in support of the new system as is happening in Zimbabwe today. If all systems of government and individual rulers have been instituted by God one would wonder if there is any point in even voting - unless the voting is always in support of the status quo.

This makes it obvious that Christians need biblical teaching which goes beyond the “proof text” method where one just quotes Bible verses to support preconceived ideas. Does God indeed endorse particular rulers or systems of government?

The Old Testament story focuses on a Jewish community whose system of government was a theocracy or “rule by God”. When this community settled in Palestine God appointed for them judges, and later on kings. God himself deposed those kings who either deviated from his commandments by worshipping false gods, or by oppressing the people over whom they ruled. God even punished this community by allowing foreign powers like the Assyrians and Babylonians to colonize them for varying periods of time as a means of restoring them to the laws he had agreed with them as his people.

At the time of the coming of Jesus Christ the same Jewish community had endured a long period of Greek colonialism, and was now under Roman colonialism. Up to that time the concept of “kingdom” had included not only geographic, territorial space, but also the particular nation over whom a king ruled. Jesus brought about a transformation of the whole concept of kingdom. By “kingdom of God” Jesus meant, among other things, “God’s governance” not over a particular geographical space or a particular nation but over all those in different nations who voluntarily subjected themselves to God’s will. Those who earnestly prayed, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven” were to be part of the kingdom of God. In other words Jesus brought an end to the old concept of “theocracy” whereby God ruled over a particular people in a particular geographical space. That is why Jesus also often talked about the ”kingdom of heaven”. He said, “My kingdom is not of this earth” (John 18:36)

What this means, therefore, is that there is no longer any particular political system of government that comes from God. Different nations can choose their own types of political systems, and their own rulers. They may indeed, in their sovereignty, choose one party state systems, multi-party democracy, “kingdom” systems or even communism. None of these can claim to be the “biblical” system of government. And none of them can claim perfection.

There are, however, certain values that remain unchanging in God’s scheme of things. The values include love, justice, peace, truth, honesty, generosity, morality, unity-in-diversity, respect for human life and dignity, human freedoms, respect for other persons, good governance, rule of law, participation, equality of human beings, the promotion of the family, service, accountability and excellence. All these values find support in the Scriptures of both Old and New testaments. The fact that these values are endorsed even by those who are not Christians is an indication of their universality. God requires such values even in those who do not identify themselves as Christians. He rewards those who abide by these values and punishes those who do not.

Each nation must then choose leaders and a system of government that can best ensure the promotion of those values so that God’s blessings can rest on the nation. Zimbabwe and the majority of other nations have chosen the democratic system of government. It is not a perfect system; but we have judged it better than other systems in terms of promoting the values articulated above. Having done that it becomes necessary that we honestly adhere to democratic principles and ensure the promotion of the godly values within our chosen system of government.

Because we live in a democracy, and not a theocracy, it is, therefore, false to say that any party, or any set of rulers are given to us by God. No. We choose these people ourselves. And if any party or any politicians cease to uphold God’s unchanging values we, as Christians, must pray them, and vote them, out of government.

So, how does Romans 13 apply to this conclusion? One needs to continue reading up to verse 7 in order to understand that Paul was talking about governing authorities that uphold God’s values and standards. Those kinds of authorities “hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong”. They are “God’s servants to do you good” and to “bring punishment on the wrong-doer”. The fact that such governing authorities at that time included colonial rulers did not seem to matter to Paul. What was more important to Paul was that they upheld God’s standard of good governance.

By implication, when the governing authorities cease to do right there is no obligation to submit to them. What if the governing authorities start to be a terror to those who do right and reward those who do wrong? What if they become corrupt, oppressive and violate other unchanging values of God? Do we fold our arms and wait for God to deal with them? No. This is no longer a theocracy. The obligation is on us. As Christians we must actively pray that they either shape up or ship out. We must utilize every opportunity to vote them out of power and vote in those whose values are closest to kingdom values. What we want is for God’s will to be done on earth even as it is done in heaven.

Some may conclude that I am advocating for all Christians to “meddle” in party politics. How often have we heard that Christians are to pray and preach the gospel and to leave politics to politicians, and economics to economists?

Indeed “party politics” is not part of the official business of ministers of the Gospel, who were called by God to be “shepherds of the sheep.” With regard to party politics they must remain neutral and non-aligned. Our churches and colleges are home to people of different political persuasions and racial groups. But because God’s values permeate every sphere of life, they must be God’s agents of righteousness in all spheres including politics, economics, education and health. They must remain engaged in both prayer and advocacy without fear or favour. Without such engagement they cease to be the conscience of the nation. The fact that a minister we may be a beneficiary of the status quo must not silence his or her prophetic voice as is happening with some of our brethren.

Individual Christians, however, as responsible citizens, may participate in political parties of their choice guided by biblical values and their conscience. The Bible says that Christians are the salt of the earth. For salt to give flavour it must be mixed with the food. In the same way, for Christians to influence society they must be fully engaged in that society.
(Rev Dr Roy Musasiwa is principal of Domboshawa Theological College. He may be contacted on email

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Press Releases

United Church General Council Meets in Kelowna August 9–15

Friday, July 31, 2009

Toronto: Canada’s largest Protestant denomination, The United Church of Canada, is holding its 40th General Council in Kelowna, British Columbia, August 9–15, 2009. The meetings will take place on the campus of the University of British Columbia—Okanagan. Delegates are being housed in student residences, and the gymnasium will serve as the main meeting space.

On Sunday, August 9, the opening day of General Council, a public worship service begins at 10:30 a.m. A large number of additional visitors from local United Churches are expected to attend this worship service.

The General Council is a national gathering of close to 400 delegates called commissioners. Commissioners are selected by the church’s 13 regional Conferences and represent an equal number of lay and ordered men and women. In addition, more than 300 guests, observers, youth, children, staff, and volunteers will be present for the week-long gathering.

The General Council meets every three years to elect a new Moderator and to approve new church policies. The last meeting of the General Council took place in Thunder Bay, Ontario, in August 2006.

A total of 173 proposals for action are coming before the 40th General Council. While many of these proposals deal with matters that are primarily of interest only to the United Church, many also address more general issues of concern:

  • the environment
  • peace in the Middle East
  • presumed consent for organ donation
  • Employment Insurance emergency measures
  • protection of agricultural land and local food security
  • Canada–Colombia free-trade agreement
  • return of Omar Khadr to Canada
  • support for refugees coming to Canada
  • emergency landing lights for Bella Bella Hospital

Reports coming before the 40th General Council include one that deals with the nature and meaning of ministry leadership, and a background paper on the state of the church. The latter, while not an action item itself, is intended to help inform all of the decisions being made by commissioners at this General Council.

In addition, time will be spent discussing a report dealing with a vision for revitalizing French ministries in The United Church of Canada, and a report evaluating the three-year Emerging Spirit/WonderCafe initiative. This initiative, which was approved at the last General Council, focused on establishing and nurturing the relationship of the United Church with Canadians between the ages of 30 and 45 who are not part of any organized faith group.

As always the election of the new Moderator will likely draw considerable media interest, particularly in the communities where the nominees live. Thus far there are six nominees for Moderator: three from Ontario (Brantford, Braeside in the Ottawa Valley area, and Toronto), two from Manitoba (Winnipeg and Oxford House), and one from British Columbia (Hazelton). The election of the new Moderator is scheduled for Friday, August 14, followed by the installation service on the evening of August 15.

Throughout General Council, a complete news and information service will be available to reporters both on-site and off. Most information, including the daily agenda and documentation related to the 40th General Council, is being posted online at You will also find a link to this website from The United Church of Canada’s homepage at

In addition to daily news reports from a team of writers covering events as they happen, there will also be video clips posted on YouTube and live streaming of most proceedings of General Council will be carried on the 40th General Council website. An accompanying website,, is dedicated to French-language coverage of the 40th General Council.

Reporters are invited to register to receive regular updates of 40th General Council news at

As well as our regular news reports, for the first time ever General Council coverage will include the use of social media vehicles such as Flickr, Twitter, WonderCafe discussion threads and popular blogging services.

For further information, please contact:

  • Mary-Frances Denis
    Program Coordinator, Media and Public Relations
    The United Church of Canada
    Tel: 416-231-7680 ext. 2016 (office until August 5, 2009)
    Tel: 416-400-7273 (cell/voice mail August 5–18, 2009)
    Tel: 250-807-9451 (August 7-16, 2009) Please note this phone does not have voice mail.
    E-mail: Mary-Frances Denis

External Pages

(Note: The United Church of Canada is not responsible for the content of external sites - links will open in new window)

Last updated:

Monday, July 6, 2009


Book Title:
The John Wesley Code: Finding a Faith that Matters, 211 pages, 2008

Author: Dr James Stuart

Publisher: Philip Garside Publications LTD, New Zealand.

Review by Dr L. Kadenge

I have read several books written about John Wesley (JW) but this one has captivated my imagination to the extend that I could not put it down. Most of the things known about JW are in this book. The uniqueness of this book is in the fact that James Stuart looks at JW’s special and unique contribution to the eighteenth century revival which gave birth to Methodism. Wesley’s major contribution was his praxis. He earned his achievements. His experience was his teacher.

Though the past was very important to JW he did not let it obscure his goal of organizing his movement. The important thing which he did that became his anchor was what I am calling Literature Review (L.R.). Any worthwhile thesis has to have a substantial L.R. Wesley excelled in this sphere. He was widely read. He read most of the works that mattered to his spiritual growth and was able though, to keep his head above the influences from what he read. He read like someone who knew what he wanted. Once something was not in line with his focus he discarded it. The good thing though, was that he knew what he did not want to follow. That which was in line with his goal he perfected. This is why he could relate with the Moravians and even adopt some of their spiritual practices but broke with them when it came to issues that stifled his progress and his goal. That which struck a code in him he kept for future reference.

JW was not satisfied with little faith. He indeed was a giant. He expected much and he got much. His followers had to practice their faith. Indeed he kept on the heels of his preachers from whom he demanded the best.

What comes out clearly in this book is that for JW Christian life is lived for others. Like Christ who laid down his life for the world, so JW’s parish was the world. JW encouraged Methodists to earn as much as they could, save as much as they could and give as much as they could. He was an example. He devoted much to the work he was doing. He did not have the comfort of staying in one place for long. Itinerancy became his watch word. He traveled the length and breadth of the United Kingdom until his health could not allow.

Discouragements were faced squarely. He fought the waves of discontent with tenacity. He would look for opportunities and move on like things were normal. As his movement grew necessity became the mother of invention. Because the movement was growing preachers were introduced. Leaders of the movement both at home and abroad had to be ordained at some point to carter for the growing work even in he United States of America.

The genius of JW came in handy as he managed successfully his Methodist movement which effectively became a church within a church in his life time. While most structures were in place to establish a separate Church JW died a priest of the Anglican Church. On the other hand the connexion was operating effectively with its conference and leadership in place. The movement nature of Methodism was necessary because it was designed to bring the necessary change or UK would have experienced a catastrophic revolution. JW thwarted that revolution.

The Industrial Revolution in the UK had brought in untold suffering. The enclosure acts which pushed many rural folks into towns brought untold suffering to the new urbanites. JW came in handy to carter for the needs of the dispossessed whom the official Church of England had no concern for. The Methodist movement became the place for all and sundry. Orphanages, clinics and schools for the less privileged were established to carter for the disadvantaged. No sooner had this been done the poor multiplied. JW vowed to meet these challenges. Because of his concern for the down trodden JW came to the aide of William Wilberforce in his fight against slavery. Wilberforce was a Methodist whose fight resonated with JW’s.

Providence was another watch word of JW. Though he was charting new waters he relied heavily on the early Church practices. Jesus’ disciples brought their goods together to share and for JW that was something to emulate according to the prevailing circumstances. JW was not someone to give up easily. He persevered even in the most difficult circumstances. If it meant running away to save his life he did, not in capitulation but for the sake of what was ahead of him. Being banned from preaching in the Church of England did not dissuade him from preaching more. It was like he was given a new lease of life. Out door preaching became normal practice because of necessity.

JW did not want his weaknesses to blur his work. He fell and rose. He did not claim to be perfect but he strove for perfection. His method of leadership may not have been the best but it ushered in a new era. By grace he was saved from infancy to his death.

Indeed James Stuart is right, “Methodists need a new appreciation of Wesley’s vision.” Yes, “Methodism is waning and membership is declining,” in the western world but it can learn from other parts of the world where Methodism is growing in leaps and bounds. The reason for this growth is that according to JW the Church is there for the community. A church which is concentrating on its existence is bound to wound up. A church that will have long life is the one which exists for others. Love God and others and the church will not go wrong. Thanks James.

Monday, June 1, 2009


One wonders whether we have already seen or heard the worst coming from our sisters and brothers in the Anglican Church. A few days ago listening to the Voice of America news VOA I could not believe that Bishop Nolbert Kunonga who is pitted against the (Anglican) Church of the Province of Central Africa could respond with such venom to a question why his breakaway section of the church was getting less and less members. His response was in Shona "Nhunzi dzinoenda kunenyama yakaora" (Flies are attracted by rotten meat). Should a church leader or former church leader say that non members or potential members of his church were like flies who flocked in their numbers to rotting meat when they had left his church.

My appeal to the larger church of the world is to pray for our sisters and brothers in the Anglican Church here in Zimbabwe. Politicians are fuelling the already dire situation in this church. June is the month Anglicans in the Central Africa region which comprises Botswana, Zambia, Malawi and Zimbabwe come together in Marondera in Zimbabwe at a place near Bernard Muzeki College, a place believed Bernard Muzeki, one of the earliest black missionaries was killed. Kunonga has already booked the place with the police so that the whole of Anglicanism here in this region will not have access to it. What has the police to do with that function if not supporting one man's cause? God forbid!!!

The Harare Diocese which is at the centre of these problems was being led by Bishop Kunonga until the Central province excommunicated him a year ago for breaking away from the church. The retired bishop of Manicaland Bishop Sebastian Bakare was called to lead the Diocese temporarily while it elected a new bishop. Bakare has seen hell. At one service his communion elements were thrown to the ground by Bishop Kunonga. Recently a new bishop Dr Chad Gandiya has been elected and awaits confirmation. One person in the Diocese is said to have objected to his appointment and the church leadership from the province will be meeting soon in Harare to consider the evidence so that they can make a decision. May God save this great church.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


List of Organisations Represented at the Kariba Consultative Meeting:

Heads of Christian Denominations

Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops’ Conference

Zimbabwe Council of Churches

National Association of Non-Governmental Organisations (NANGO)

Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe (WCZ)

Zimbabwe National Students’ Union (ZINASU)

Christian Students Union of Zimbabwe (CSU)

Zimbabwe Christian Alliance (ZCA)

Zimbabwe National Pastors’ Conference (ZNPC)

Zimbabwe National Council for the Welfare of Children (ZNCWC)

Musasa Project

MS-Danish, Zimbabwe

National Association for the Care of the Handicap (NASCOH)

Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP)

Zimbabwe Civic Education Trust (ZIMCET)

Africa Evangelical Association


Victims Action Committee (VAC)

Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum

Center for Peace Initiatives in Africa (CPIA)


Institute of Theological Reflection Today ITRT

NB: This is only a list of organizations represented at the Kariba consultative workshop. A full list of all organizations in the civic society is in Appendix 5.4

Background: the need for National Reconciliation and Healing

Over the years since 1980, civil society organizations and churches in Zimbabwe realizing their biblical and moral mandate have independently carried out peace- building programs in particular geographical areas they chose to work. In the last five or so years, however, some of the organizations have on occasions found it beneficial to collaborate with like-minded sister organizations to carry out certain specific interventions. It was out of this spirit that the National Association of Non-Governmental Organizations in Zimbabwe (NANGO), the Christian Alliance, the NGO Forum, other civil society organizations and the Heads of Christian Denominations (HOCD) comprising the Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe (EFZ), the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops’ Conference (ZCBC) and The Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC) decided to partner each other in the Zimbabwe Church and Civil Society Forum (ZCCSF) to facilitate national reconciliation and healing in a coordinated and harmonized manner.

After the constitution of the Organ for National Reconciliation and Healing in the new all- inclusive Government of Zimbabwe, the forum heartily welcomed this development and made contact with the Organ to explore ways of collaborating and working together.

The forum noted that Article VII of the historic Global Political Agreement (GPA) of September 15, 2008 states in part that the parties agreed to:

“ … give consideration to the setting up of a mechanism to properly advise on what measures might be necessary and practicable to achieve national healing, cohesion and unity in respect of victims of pre and post independence political conflict”

The agreement took cognizance of the fact that there were periods in Zimbabwe’s history that were fraught with conflict and during which acts of political violence were committed, and also the fact that unless the hurt, pain and sense of loss that were occasioned by these conflicts were effectively addressed, Zimbabweans would never experience genuine peace, unity and national cohesion.

Such periods include:

The pre-independence war period


Land re-distribution

Operation Murambatsvina

Violence during elections

Others: as will be defined by the communities in specific localities

For national reconciliation and healing to take place effectively, it is necessary that the entire nation participates in a comprehensive, all- inclusive, holistic and clearly defined national process underpinned by strong political will and desire to reconcile and heal the nation.

At the Church and Civil Society Forum workshop held in Kariba over the period 12 – 15 May, 2009, the Forum, from its vantage position of representing various sectors of the Zimbabwean society, resolved to formally engage the Organ for National Reconciliation and Healing in the facilitation and implementation of national reconciliation and healing as envisaged in Article VII of the GPA.

In engaging Government in this process, the Forum took into cognizance the fact that for an effective, sustainable national reconciliation and healing process to take place, it was necessary to engage all stakeholders, including Government.

Guiding Vision, Principles and Values for National Healing and Reconciliation


We as CCSF envision National Healing and Reconciliation as a home grown inclusive process that will lay the foundations for a peaceful and cohesive Zimbabwean society; where the security of individuals and communities is guaranteed; where the dignity of the individual is respected; where broken relationships are healed; where trust is restored; and where diversity is celebrated.

Guiding Principles for a National Healing and Reconciliation Process

The following are the principles that should guide a national healing and reconciliation process:

Upholds truth and justice while cognizant that justice delayed is more likely to be justice denied

Rebuilds trust, strengthens relationships and enhances equity and social cohesion so as to ensure a healthy and prosperous society/ nation

Is proactive by laying the foundation for sustainable peace

Is all inclusive attending to particular needs and views of social groups like:



The poor and disadvantaged

Minority groups



Facilitates holistic healing by providing psycho-social support, trauma healing, and spiritual restoration.

Provides security to both victims and perpetrators so that they can open up without fear of victimisation

Is contextually relevant by being home grown (By Zimbabweans)

Engages all stakeholders realising that the contribution of all Zimbabweans as individuals and social groups is needed.

Allows the views and healing needs the people express to guide the time cut off points and the healing process.

Guarantees the involvement of communities as equal partners through a grass roots oriented approach that considers community peculiarities.

Is committed to introspection and acknowledgement of the role that stakeholders have played in contributing to the undesirable environment

Is facilitated and implemented by people who acknowledge and address their own need for healing.

Respects and upholds the life, dignity and human rights of all citizens

Core Values for CCSF National Healing and Reconciliation

The following are the core values that guide the relationship between members of the CCSF:





Shared leadership

Mutual respect





To treat each other with compassion

Ongoing introspection

Strategic Objectives for a Sustainable National Healing and Reconciliation Process.

The strategic objectives are based on the observation of the fowlling critical factors:

That Zimbabwe is currently going through transitional processes whose positive results will better inform and support the National Healing and Reconciliation process (e.g Constitutional, Institutional, Media, Political Reform processes)

That the resultant framework for National Healing and Reconciliation needs to be informed and guided by consideration of the grassroots’ input, views and desired outcome.

Given such factors, the strategic objectives for a sustainable process are therefore to:

Investigate views that stakeholders particularly the grassroots have regarding what should constitute a national healing and reconciliation process and provide awareness on the current reform processes in Zimbabwe.

Identify the conflict issues and dynamics that need to be addressed in order to achieve sustainable national healing and reconciliation.

Identify and provide for grassroots situations that require immediate relief interventions.

Built capacity within the grassroots communities for peace building, handling truth recovery and conflict resolution.

Determine the kind of truth recovery approach and justice that Zimbabweans want for sustainable national healing and reconciliation when the environment is more conducive through a generally accepted conclusion of the constitutional reforms that have a bearing on related processes such as media, electoral and political reforms.

Modalities for Implementation


Structural Activities

The forum will undertake various structural activities as outlined below:

The Kariba document will be presented to the Organ on National Healing and Reconciliation and the engagement of the organ will then be initiated thereof.

Member organisations present at the Kariba Consultative meeting will feedback to their structures on the output of the meeting

The first roll out activity will be the hosting of an all-stakeholder national consultative meeting. This meeting will be mandated to:

Make presentations on the formulation of CCSF to a wider stakeholder base.

Consolidate Healing and Reconciliation as a national process.

Invite more stakeholders into the forum.

Carry out a Peace-building skills audit among stakeholders in order to create database of practitioners.

Intervention Activities

The intervention activities are as ascribed below:

Stage 1: National Sensitization Process

The intervention activities will begin with the national sensitization process which will allow the forum to listen to the people’s concerns, needs and expectations for the national healing and reconciliation process.

Sensitization Process Guidelines:

This process allows for an understanding of the context of the extent of the conflict effects, which will later inform further processes as assessed by the research team of the forum.

The process must firstly encourage open expression of grief & rage triggered by the conflict. This must be within a CONTEXT PROCESS i.e. to be implemented through the cultural and traditional norms and structures of the particular community.

The process can thenspecifically involve the following:

Civic Education on the National Healing and Reconciliation Initiative and its relation to the Global Political Agreement and the Constitutional Reform Process.

Allowing for communities to express their concerns and their desired outcomes from the national healing and reconciliation process.

Recording the concerns and input of the communities for transmission to the research team/department.

Familiarisation with the community members, processes, structures, cultures, history, conflict perspective and other important indicators.

Building relationships with communities.

Stage 2: Mapping

At this stage the sensitization team will then provide information to allow the research team to do the following:

Understand the conflict perspectives in the communities from a practical angle.

Relate the reality on the ground to the national perspective.

Understand the major conflict motivations and their specific context and inter-relations.

Identify immediate key needs for parallel processes that can be followed (e.g. relief work, trauma treatment, trauma counseling, re-integration of displaced, livelihoods programs etc).

Stage 3: Community Capacity Building

Start to build community capacity building programs for communities as informed by stage 1 and stage 2.

The capacity building programs must address the following:

Dismantling Bias and Prejudice

Conflict grows from biases & prejudices regarding culture, ethnicity, gender, religion, political affiliation, nationality, language, handicap, skills, etc.

Developing Skills in Interest-Based Processes

There will be need to develop skills within local communities to implement agreed strategies e.g. group facilitation, public dialogue, strategic planning, collaborative negotiation, mediation etc. Communities will normally respond to being empowered to run their own programs or to being part of the teams running programs.

Capacity Building Design

Capacity building programs must then be designed for each community (ward or cell) taking into account the arising contextual needs. Some generic outline of such programs will highlight the following:

Communication Skills

Negotiation Skills

Emotional Processing Skills (e.g. working through rage and guilt, assuage of grief & loss

Mediation Skills

Counseling Skills

Community Building Skills (Developing interest-based, collaborative leadership and becoming productive, functional communities again)

Conflict Resolution Systems Design Skills (To prevent future disputes and to resolve future disputes before they become intractable)

Stage 4: Institutionalisation

This helps manage or prevent future conflicts within the community without the outbreak of violence, & without outside intervention.

Institutionalisation also involves the creation of “WARD PEACE AUDIT TEAMS” or “CELL PEACE TEAMS” to identify the systematic sources of violent conflicts and potential threats to peace in the community.

Other Parallel Processes

It is important to note that as the linear processes are being pursued as discussed above, there will be need to identify other parallel process that may arise due to the realised needs in the communities.


There could still be persons who were displaced during the conflicts who are still away from their natural communities. Once such needs are realized, reintegration processes must be ensured as parallel processes.

Framework of Re-integration

Reintegration must focus on physical, social, economic and spiritual re-integration of persons back into their natural environments, state of life, mind and heart.

Trauma Healing and Treatment

Some victims of trauma have had no treatment or counseling to-date. It will be important to note such cases and immediately refer them for any such need.

Restitution and Compensation

There may also be immediate cases for the need for restitution and compensation. Where any such cases are clear, it will be important to consider them.

Total Framework and Implementation Design

The total framework and design of the implementation process will be informed by the sensitisation from the various communities. The forum will not be prescriptive but will attain input from the affected communities and will thus develop implementation and frameworks based on context and community needs and requirements.

Lobbying and Advocacy

The forum will establish a lobbying and advocacy wing which will engage with the following processes:

Parliamentary and Legislative processes

Constitutional Reform Process

The Political processes (i.e. the GPA)

Community processes

The Media

National Vision building processes in order to counter the inherent culture of violence and disrespect for the sanctity of human life.

Supporting Structures

National Structure

The forum will operate as a coalition of Church and Civil Society organisations, run by a secretariat of persons seconded from the membership. (Refer to Appendix 5.3)

Grassroots Structure

The forum will ride on the available nationwide network of its membership. It will therefore establish provincial and district structures which will eventually feed into the ward and cell structures. The guideline is to facilitate a bottom-up and victim-centered process, which will ensure contextual relevance in all interventions developed.

Functional Structure

The structure of the forum will comprehensively cover the following:



Media Liaison

Lobbying, Policy Cordination and Advocacy


Documentation and Publication

Capacity Building and Programs

Resources needed to effect implementation

Personnel trained in peace-building and other requisite areas


Equipment and facilities


Definition of Terms

National Healing – a process of healing the spiritual, emotional and socio-economic damage from dysfunctional conflict, that acknowledges the truth of what happened and upholds justice while implementing peace monitoring and building mechanisms to prevent further such or new counter productive conflict in order to achieve more social cohesion and open the way for socio-economic recovery and progress.

Justice – Establishing factual truth about a case and impartially arriving at a fair resolution that upholds the rule of law and affirms human rights and dignity.

Restorative justice – is a community based way of holding perpetrators accountable for wrongs committed by bringing the victim and the perpetrator to a settlement through establishing and acknowledging the truth, restoring losses so that there wrongs are not repeated and to begin healing of the relationship between the two and that they can build trust to peacefully live together.

Retributive justice – is based on the established law legal means to punish the perpetrator as a corrective and deterrent measure, and a way of making him/her accountable.

Transitional justice – is ensuring justice and fairness in dealing with past offences and crimes in a period of movement from an unwanted post conflict situation to a desired situation that restores normalcy, equity, peace and social cohesion.

Reconciliation – is a process (or the end of such a process) that deals with the past through confession, listening, restitution and forgiveness to restore peaceful co-existence, mutual respect and commitment to building trust between groups or parties that have been at conflict.

Accountability – is to allow the rule of law, an authority or others to assess and determine one’s conformity to a standard through transparency and accepting responsibility over one’s action instead of acting with impunity.

Compensation – is repayment in some form as acknowledgement and redress of injustice perpetrated to somebody in a given society.

Truth telling – is recovering and acknowledging the truth of what happened by allowing for honest verbal disclosure of, and expression of emotions from, the full facts in order to facilitate settlement and healing.


A working group will be set up to work on comprehensive technical as well as theological or sector specific definitions of terms and concepts on the subject of national healing.

Communication Strategy

Father Chiromba (HOCD) will be spearhead all communication on behalf of the Forum.

The role of the media team will be to ensure that any communication from Father Chiromba is broadcast to the intended audience, at the approriate time and in the appropriate manner and form.

National and grassroot structures of the Forum members will also be utilised for communication processes, as cordinated from the Father Chiromba through the Media team.

Other Potential Organizations Under CCSF

Christian Care

Crisis Coalition

General Agriculture & Plantations Union of Zimbabwe

Lawyers for Human Rights



Media Institute of Southern Africa


Peace Builders’ Network of Zimbabwe

Zimbawe Congress of Trade Unions







Council of Chiefs

Business council of Zimbabwe (ZNCC, CZI, EMCOZ, RTG)

Law Society of Zimbabwe

War Veterans Association

Bulawayo Agenda

Combined Harare Residents Association

National Constitutional Assembly


Artists for Democracy

Unthunzini/Mumvuri Association

Funding modalities

The organisations that have been raising funding for the Forum are: HOCD, NANGO and Christian Alliance these have been mandate to continue untill December 2009 when a new funding strategy will be initiatited. Other Individuals organisation will also continue to contribute as needs arise.