Thursday, March 26, 2009




This meeting was hosted by the Zimbabwe Institute in conjunction with civic society and Church Organization of which the Institute of Theological Reflection and Liberation Today (ITRT) was a part. The purpose of the meeting was to appraise the Civic and Church Organizations on the nature of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) and functions of the Inclusive Government as well as to afford the Civic and Church Organizations the opportunity to be in dialogue with the political processes. The meeting provided space for the Civic and Church organizations to hear first hand information, from the GPA negotiators, on the nature of the GPA and its implications for Zimbabwe. An opportunity to engage the Inclusive Government was also availed so that the Civic and Church organizations are part of the political processes toward National Healing and Values, Constitutional Reform, Human Rights, Media & Security of Persons, Economic Recovery, and attending to Humanitarian Crises.

Summary of events
Advocate Mojanku Gumbi a member of the facilitation team in the process toward the GPA emphasised the important role of the Civic society and Church organizations in the political processes toward peace and political stability and economic recovery. She also noted that the GPA is a product of the Zimbabwean political parties hence the need for the Zimbabwean key players to give it the necessary support. Advocate Gumbi also emphasissed the need for a bi-partisan approach and vigilance on the part of the Civic society in their attempt to critique the GPA and the inclusive government.

Hon. Professor Welshman Ncube (one of the GPA negotiators) gave a detailed process of the Constitutional making process in the light of the GPA. Prof. Ncube also pointed out that the constitution making process will be spearheaded by a parliamentary select committee which will be composed of members from the civic society and Church bodies. Prof. Ncube implored the meeting to give their 100% support to this process since the attempt was to come up with a constitution which was democratic and acceptable to all citizens of the country. This process was expected to last for 19 months.

Dr. Lovemore Madhuku, the chairman of the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) argued that what the civic society wants is an independent body which would oversee the whole process and not a parliamentary select committee. He also argued that the NCA would not be part to strategies that promote certain political ideologies which do not follow the democratic values and principles.

Hon. Tendai Biti (one of the GPA negotiators), finance minister, noted that there was great need for all players to be aware of the state of the economy so that there is oneness toward a concerted effort to restore the country back to a normal economy. Hon. Biti noted that the country’s economic collapse is worse that of Europe in 1945 (after World War 2). He observed that Zimbabwe had negative growth rate of -5% by 2005 when the country stopped issuing credible statistics, GDP of -30%, and electricity production is 30% of the normal requirements and to-date the country has removed 25 zeros from its currency since August 2006. Life expectancy has fallen to 34years for women and 37years for men. Hon. Biti identified the need for:
a) Transparency and accountability by all stakeholders.
b) Need for hard work to restore positive growth in the economy
c) International help toward solving the humanitarian crises.
d) Recovery of health and education sectors.
e) Respect of people’s rights and freedom.
f) Need to allow for free media.
g) Respect for the rule of law.
h) Rationale land policy that will make sure that the land is productive.
i) Restoration of international confidence in Zimbabwe’s economy.

An economist, Mr. John Robertson, noted that the Inclusive Government must build international confidence and respect the rule of law for it to get international assistance. Mr. Robertson also emphasized change of mentality by the business community toward capacity building and production orientation. He also reminded the government of the urgent need to deal with redundant staff and the restructuring of the RBZ.

Rev. Dr. Goodwill Shana, president of the Christian Heads of Denominations, noted that the country’s worst enemy was the breakdown of law and order. Dr. Shana further argued that the shortage of essential commodities and services in the public institutions was to be attended to as first priority. Rev. Shana also noted that the number of displaced persons was alarming hence the need for National healing and restoration of the displaced citizens. Currently, Zimbabwe is a dysfunctional society; fear despair and shame engulfs the nation. A collapsed economy does not help matters; people need food, healing and reconciliation for the nation to be healed from this trauma.

Ms. Shari Eppel, a psychologist working with the victims of Zimbabwe crises from 1980 to-date, noted that as long as there was no deliberate thrust to deal with the effects of trauma then every effort to captivate the people of Zimbabwe would achieve little results because people were spiritually wounded and needed healing for them to fully function. Ms. Eppel argued that Zimbabwe was a broken country that needed urgent attention. Ms. Eppel called for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to be put in place at the right time, and not during the transition period.

Dr. David Kaulem argued that conditions for National healing must disband the ambiguities of partisan politics. Dr. Kaulem called upon all civic groups to promote the traditional cultural values which are enshrined on the moral values of life, respect, promotion of common good, solidarity, subsidiarity, universal participation and stewardship.

Rev. Dr. Philemon Chikafu argued that National healing was indeed a responsibility of the varied religious institutions. He noted that a National healing ritual has to be deliberately undertaken to deal with such matters of the spiritual man and the private pain. Dr. Chikafu called for the:
a) Creation of peace zones.
b) De-politicization of space.
c) De-politicization of National Institutions.
d) Truth and Reconciliation Commission headed by Religious Institutions.

Ms. Irene Petras, the president of the Law Society of Zimbabwe, argued that as long as there was continued violation of the basic rights and freedoms of the people, Zimbabwe would not get any International support. Ms. Petras noted that the spirit of the GPA was being violated by the police through the continued arrest of individuals and civic groups such as Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA).she called upon the Inclusive Government to act and walk the talk and spirit of the GPSA.

Mr. Innocent Chagonda and Hon. Prof. Welshman Ncube gave a detailed presentation on the role of the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee (JOMIC). Mr. Chagonda noted that JOMIC’s role is to ensure that the politicians keep to the spirit and letter of the GPSA. It was however noted that JOMIC has no power to compel but simply puts the facts of the GPA before the political parties’ principals. In response, Prof. Lloyd Sachikonye appreciated the spirit of JOMIC but went further to implore the principals of the GPA to make sure that the law enforcement agents adhered to political guidance as it pertains to the spirit of the GPA and Inclusive Government. Prof. Sachikonye also encouraged the civic society to approach the JOMIC for redress on all matters that seek to violate the spirit of the GPA.

Dr. Mark Simpson, of the UNDP, observed that the challenges facing the nation are clear and obvious but require a sincere political commitment by all political players. He noted that it was important for the country to move away from the self-serving interests to a truly economic recovery framework. Dr. Simpson called for balanced programs and serious consultations with all stakeholders.

The dialogue between the Inclusive Government on one hand and Civic and Church organizations on the other is indeed a fruitful effort toward National engagement in search of a democratic and prosperous Zimbabwe. It is imperative for our partners to realize that the watch dog role of the civic and Church organizations is critical in the political processes toward building a new Zimbabwe. The demand for a host of empowerment programs toward National healing is a number one priority.

Friday, March 20, 2009


Testing of your faith: Job 1 vs 1-12; 1 Peter 4 vs 12-19

It’s amazing how Christians want good life. They are the first to run away from problems. The best they want is to avoid complicated issues. They yearn for comfortable lives. This is the opposite of a life of faith. People of faith should face challenges of life head on. It is after they have overcome the difficulties of life that they will be welcomed by their maker. Those who accomplish their tasks are the ones that are welcome in the Kingdom. The iron is that we want it easy. We lose before we even enter the race.

Job was an upright man. He had everything in life. He had children who were God fearing. Each time they had their yearly gatherings Job would rededicate them to God and bless them. This is the Job whom God sends the Devil to tempt/test. The scriptures above tell us the routine of the devil. He spends most of his time roaming the world looking for someone to devour. The good Lord sends the Devil to test Job not because he had done wrong but to prove his worthiness for the Kingdom.

Job proved that he was an exemplary father. Seven sons and three daughters he was given loved each other. This is quite an achievement because many a family do not see eye to eye. Brother is against brother and sister against sister. Job’s family was really a good example. We would then expect that this is the family which deserves blessings upon blessings. God himself says this about Job, “There is no-one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.”(Job 1 vs. 8) What do we see? The family is visited by a big calamity which leaves the community in disarray. God says to the Devil “…everything he has is in your hands, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.” (vs. 12). The Devil had indeed a field day and wrecked havoc by destroying all that Job had.

So what shall we do? If a perfect man is tested like this, what about us? Is it encouraging then to be good? Shall we therefore be like others who are not so good in order to avoid being tested? These and many other questions come into our minds. The scriptures are very clear. Paul says to his audience through Peter “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trail you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the suffering of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.” (1 Peter 4 vs.12-13).

“If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or a thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler.” (vs.15) This shows us that everyone will one day suffer. The difference is what kind of a person you are at the time of your suffering. If you are a Christian then you should rejoice when you suffer because God is working out something precious in you. This is very difficult to accept because we have often linked Christianity to non-suffering.

When we are committed to our Lord we should always remember that he would not let us down. Testing will come, suffering will come and comfort will also accompany us through the journey of our Christian life. “Those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.” (Vs. 19.) Those who are meant for heaven will always be tested, tempted and approved. God promises us that any testing he gives us he knows we can overcome. He is indeed a fair God. When testing comes know that God is very close and is ready to pick you up. What a God we serve!! God bless.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Mrs Susan Tsvangirai's death United the Nation

Lessons to Learn

The death of Susan Tsvangirai the late wife of the Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has provided a lot of lessons for our nation. As soon as the message got round the media houses many conclusions were given as to what caused the accident until we heard from Tsvangirai himself that he was convinced the accident was accidental and that he did not suspect foul play.

The mistake though, was that our local information channels both print and electronic did not help the situation. While the regional and international media outlets had much information and were dishing it out as they thought, our media was saying very little. Some think it was wise to report that way. The danger was that many people have set-light dishes and just wondered what the local information they were getting was restricted by what ethics?

At one time we were told that Tsvangirai had gone to the region for further treatment and that it was a tripartite arrangement. On the other hand it was made very clear by other media sources that Botswana had offered to provide further medical services. There may have been bad blood between the leader of Botswana and Zimbabwe president but in such times like this we expect some of these things to be buried.

Zimbabweans were encouraged by the fact that the president and his wife were said to be the first to visit Tsvangirai in Hospital. That is what it should be. Such behavior helps people to take our leaders seriously and that they care. The visit came before Tsvangirai had declared that it was an accident. Some commented that the visit by the president was a cover-up. Indeed people can say anything anytime. This is why I said in my previous article that the truth that we know is the one which sets us free.

The service which was held at the Methodist Church witnessed not only the president and many government officials but also the Church and regional representatives coming together to mourn Mrs Tsvangirai. Susan the unassuming lady became the uniting factor. The announcement by Tsvangirai that the death of his wife was an accident was the message the nation needed most. What people least expected happened. This means that her death was not in vain.

Mrs Tsvangirai loved her Lord. Many deaths have caused divisions even in families. This death actually united daughters and sons of Zimbabwe across both political denominational divide. May the Good Lord rest her Soul. God Bless!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

A Nation in Mourning

Zimbabwe: A Nation in Mourning

Last Friday March 6, 2009 was a sad day for the emerging nation of Zimbabwe whose National Government of Unity is trying to take shape. The accident which involved the Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his wife Susan whose death has sent shock waves across the nation and the international community has left many peoples with many unanswered questions. That as it maybe, accidents; do happen whether we are united or disunited. Let people freely think through the incident and say what they wan to say. With time the truth which is known will make us free. Talking about things which we do not know and come to conclusions is not a health way of doing things. This is the time for the nation to be united, to mourn together and to rise above the wishes of those among us who would want this sad moment to divide us further.

When I visited Mr Tsvangirai at the Avenues clinic yesterday afternoon I had to wait patiently before I was allowed in. Tsvangirai’s words at our moment of encounter were, “Bishop, ndakabvutirwa Mai” (Bishop, my wife was snatched away from me). Indeed death robed/snatched his wife, the mother of his children from him. The nation is the poorer without such a humble personality. A few months ago when I met Mrs Tsvangirai she asked, “Bishop, will this thing ever work?” This was just after the signing of the agreement of September 15, 2008. My reply was that those things which appear cumbersome are those that work out. She had the desire for things to work. She may not have been in the forefront of the struggle but she was always besides her husband in thick and thin. May her soul rest in peace!

Sunday, March 1, 2009


God comes to save and set us free. (Isaiah 30 vs. 8-17; Acts 12 vs. 1-17) - A Theological Reflection

We are trapped. This world traps us. The poverty around us traps us. Our riches set trappings for us. There is no freedom. The natural thing to do is to escape. God foresaw this danger and he had a plan to set us free. This is why he sent his only son. ”For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3 vs. 10)

The world, though, is set on a collision course with its maker. Our rulers have set the pace. They even prescribe what the messengers of God should say to them. If they say harsh words they are disciplined. The arms of government surveillance structures monitor the activities of men and women of God. Little do they know that they are spying on God himself! Nations have suffered many a disaster without knowing the very actions of their leaders are undermining the existence of their nationhood. God is not amused. He is angry. Our leaders behave like they own us, like they own the land given them to steward by God. They choose who to give land and who to chase away. God is watching.

Recently here at home we have been shocked by the news from the chief magistrate that all those cases under their jurisdiction which involved beatings, killings and abductions during the last elections are to be abandoned. The perpetrators should be set free. I am sure those involved in these heinous acts will celebrate all the way to ‘freedom’. I use that word freedom advisedly. What kind of freedom is it which absolves you for abusing other people’s liberties? God does not forget. He can only forgive. He forgives those who ask for forgiveness.

This part of the world is not a stranger to witnessing men and women who have murdered and have been sent to jail and only to come back and start all over again. The state frees them but the community is not amused. Our reality is that when a member of a family has killed someone the whole family settles only when they have settled the matter with the aggrieved family. There is no way out of this trapping. No amount of prayer and wishing away the case can help the situation. What has to be done has to be done. Repentance comes as a package. When we have owned up and done the necessary rituals then can we be able to accept lasting pardon. The Lord then sends us away with this message; “Your sins are forgiven, go and sin no more.”

In the local language we say (Kugona ngozi huiripa), meaning, the only way to settle such cases of murder is to pay reparations to the concerned family. This has happened and many of us are witnesses. The Bible does not stop people from paying their debts. The aggrieved family has to forgive you and in many of our cultures once a symbolic payment is done there is forgiveness shared with a meal or a drink. We ignore this culture to our disadvantage. We carry on with guilty written all over our lives. Many a preacher has discouraged us to ignore our realities and we have lived pseudo lives of Christian perfection which is only a pipe dream. The scriptures are very clear, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them." (Matthew 5 vs. 17)

When Peter was due trial the Angel of God visited him in jail (Acts 12 vs. 1-17). Peter was advised to wake and dress up for eventual release. He could not believe that. He later realized that it was God’s Angel. He followed the instruction and left the jail. The guards could not stop this escape because it was initiated by God. They went to sleep and did not see Peter being led out of prison. God comes to set us free. He freed Peter. God saves and frees us from all sorts of bondages in life.

The Lord we worship is all powerful and all knowing and can control even nature. He is the Lord who walked on water because he has power over the forces of nature. When Jesus walked on water to get to the boat Peter thought he could do the same. (Matthew 14 vs.22-36) Jesus gave him permission but what Peter did not realize was that he was not God. He was tempted to lose focus and he fell into water. Jesus has the freedom to walk on water. He who has all the freedom has come to save and free us. In him we are saved and free indeed. God bless.