Wednesday, April 29, 2009



Who said South Africa is a violent nation? The just ended 22 April South African elections can only be described as free and fair. I am sure all the observer missions and individuals including myself agree that people voted freely. Yes there were few incidents of problems here and there. The loss of one life is something we should not ignore. There is above all need to congratulate South Africans for holding successful elections. Like Ghana South Africa is on its way to demonstrate that African elections can be free and fair and that our politicians accept defeat gracefully. ANC has been given another chance to prove itself and the world is looking forward to delivery of services to the needy millions in South Africa.

Millions of Zimbabweans (3 million plus) who are in South Africa must have marveled at the tranquility that characterized South African elections. The robust electioneering period did not translate into violent elections. That is what it should be in a normal society. Zimbabwe has a lot to learn from its southern neighbor. South Africa has been known to be very violent but the day of elections was characterized by peace. Some of us pray and hope that South Africa abandon the violent route. With the 2010 games so close it is Africa’s and the World’s wish that peace reigns along the shows of this rainbow nation.

Prophets of doom have been proved wrong for once in Africa. When a friend heard that I was coming to South Africa before election results were announced his ‘good’ advice was that I should wait to make my journey until after results have been announce because he feared there was going to be violence. If South Africa, such a violent nation can do it so peacefully, why not relative peace loving nations to the north including our own Zimbabwe a nation of peaceful people? It seems the problem we have in Africa is our violent leaders. We are all hopeful that the last crop of violent African leaders is going to pass and disappear for ever. We are tired of being forced by our leaders to be violent.

The contrast between the worst violent independent elections in South Africa in 1994 and the most peaceful 2009 elections show that South Africans are peaceful people after all. The violent nature of South Africans we have always known them for can be overcome if the new government delivers the services people have been promised. What South Africans need is decent education, provision of jobs and service delivery and this nation can be an example of a rainbow nation where individuals live side by side in harmony. If the above is not attended to violence will continue to escalate in this nation. A sizeable percentage of violent crimes are committed by foreigners and among them Zimbabweans. Once Zimbabwe welcomes back its people (criminals included) and other nations to the north settle to welcome their own South Africa should be left to cleanse itself from this violent tag we have always associated with it.

The whole world anxiously waits to see the cabinet line up of the incoming president Jacob Zuma. While changes are expected from the incoming government they should not be scaring investors and destructive to the already progress South Arica has witnessed under the leadership of Mandela, Mbeki and lately of Montlante. Zuma has to strike the balance between introducing radical changes and keeping the nation together. The example of its northern neighbor should never be emulated.

A once vibrant economy Zimbabwe was reduced to ashes and we have voluntarily turned ourselves to be a colony of America and South Africa. We have always vowed that ‘Zimbabwe would never be a colony again’ but surprise, surprise who has made us a colony again? Our leaders back home have informed us officially that we no longer have a currency and we are now using the US Dollar and the South African Rand for official transactions. This has put to rest the claim that ‘we will never be a colony again.’ We are indeed a colony again. Thanks to our leaders who are always right. History will judge them. God bless.

Thursday, April 16, 2009



Twenty, third and fourth year students and three staff from Ricatla Theological College in Maputo heard that there was good news in Zimbabwe and decided to catch the early worm. Like the proverbial wise men from the east they did not waste time by debating weather they come to Zimbabwe or not to celebrate with us our joy after several years of suffering under a very oppressive system. What they did was to ask friends in Zimbabwe to host them on their way across Zimbabwe. Coming during Easter was ideal because Zimbabweans were celebrating freedom at last. Zimbabwe has just established a Government of National Unity GNU. The former rivalry parties have joined to form the GNU. President Robert Mugabe is now working with the opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai as the Prime Minister. This was unthinkable a few months ago.

Prof. Hette Domburg was the leader of the delegation. Their first stop of call in Zimbabwe was Africa University in Mutare near the Mozambican border. There, the Dean was keen to have some of these students enroll at her university for continuing theological studies. Their second stop was at a sister theological college in Harare, United Theological College. There also they were encouraged to come and further their theological studies.

Their last port of call was on Good Friday in Norton, 45 kilometers from Harare along the Bulawayo road. In Norton they were hosted by our family. Only six were hosted in houses and seventeen of them put up in Katanga Methodist Church building. Members of Katanga Methodist church were away at an Easter Camp 40 kilometers from Norton. The group paid a courtesy visit to their absent hosts at the camp the following day on Saturday.

On Good Friday the group listened to my personal experiences. I shared with them the difficult times I went through in trying to live the Gospel message in troubled times. Because of the misunderstandings and the misrepresentations about my prophetic role I had to come to a mutual agreement with my Church to leave the full time work and was seconded to the Institute of Theological Reflection Today which I founded. The then government was not happy about the position I took to speak on behalf of the suffering masses. My Church on the other hand did not feel comfortable because it alleged government agents were visiting the church leadership asking them to stop me from doing the work I felt called to do. For the sake of peace in the church I left full time ministry two years ago. I continue to work part time in the church and have been blessed indeed.

The session on my experiences generated such a heated debate that we went late into the night students asking very practical and pertinent questions. Some students suggested that such experiences should be shared within the region because we have similar problems in our nations. Theological Reflection sessions are very vital because they bring out real issues which pastors/ministers of religion confront in their daily work.

I also shared with them the traditional Seven Sayings on the Cross. The full text is posted on the Blog. Another heated debate ensued. Sunday morning we traveled to Sandringham Methodist Church (27km) where we partook in the communion service. The Mozambican visitors gave greetings and wished Zimbabweans a prosperous future after suffering for so long.

Thursday, April 9, 2009




The climax of Jesus Christ’s ministry was the cross in Calvary/Golgotha. The cross presented him with both a challenge and an opportunity to give a last testament to those who adored Him as the Messiah and those who saw in Him a dangerous man. Instead of dying like a criminal, the cross raised Him up above all living beings. Instead of the cross scandalizing Him, Jesus became the glorified Saviour. As Jesus Christ was raised on the cross, He defined the whole history of humanity by what he said and deed, as well as through the events that manifested themselves in this defining moment. In this amazing climax, Jesus uttered seven wonderful sayings which have enhanced the faith of many.

The number seven has a special meaning in the Bible. In seven days God finished the beautiful art of creation (Genesis 2:1), after seven times of marching around the walls of Jericho the strongholds of the city fell (Joshua 6:15-21), there are seven stars in Christ’s right hand (Revelation 1:16), etc. The number seven in appears 52 times in the book of Revelation. Theologians have observed that the use of seven in the Bible is symbolical. Seven symbolically stands for completeness. Herein rests the mystery of the Seven Sayings of Christ! These Seven Sayings are to be understood to imply the completeness of Salvation/ Redemptive history.

It is from this context that Seven Sayings that Jesus Christ uttered on the cross deserve a special study and application, into real life, by every serious Christian. I have, in my own limitations, prayerfully analyzed these seven sayings and commend them to you for spiritual nourishment especially as you reflect over what Christ Has done for you. Through these sayings, you will realize the meaning and depth of the love of Jesus the Christ. I pray that these words will be a campus of faith and a pilgrim’s stuff to your spiritual journey. Read them to be enlightened and trust God to guide you.


Luke 23:34. “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.”

§ These words were definitely directed to both Jews and Romans who were responsible for this hour.

§ Jesus observed that those who thought they were eliminating Him were actually ignorant and helpless sinners who needed to be helped out of their ignorance.

§ What is clear is the fact that ignorance which masquerades as knowledge is extremely dangerous as it leads to undesired pain and death.

§ But what was the nature of this ignorance? The Jews suffered from judicial ignorance while the Romans suffered from circumstantial ignorance.

§ God sees those who mock Him with eyes of mercy and not vengeance sees their emptiness and reaches to them with love.

§ Such is the nature of Christian forgiveness. Christian forgiveness is the creative love of God. It sees the, would be enemy, as the lost child of God who needs help.

§ What are the lessons for us? Christians need not to seek revenge but to heal, to reconcile, and mend the broken relationship. The wrongs we see in others must be confronted with love and not hatred.

§ When you are angry with those who fail you, let us hear Christ saying: forgive one another as God has forgiven you in Christ (Ephesians 4:32)

§ Remember that you are the person through whom Christ wants to be known in the World – surely you can not live in perpetual anger and sadness.


Luke 23:43 “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise”

§ Here is a helpless person just some couple of minutes away from death realizing the nature of man that Christ Jesus is.

§ This man could have scoffed at Jesus just like the other robber did, but his was the greatest realization. In the context of death he met a Saviour and he could not help it but shout his faith out: ‘Remember me….’

§ Indeed the robber had heard Jesus’ first saying to those who mocked Him. He saw in Jesus a real man. In Jesus, he did not see a sinner like him but a Saviour hence the proclamation: ‘Remember me’.

§ The robber asked for a small token ‘Remember me’ but Jesus gave him a unique gift, a gate pass to the Kingdom of God.

§ Jesus does not delay salvation to those who ask for His mercies. God’s judgment and justice is never delayed.

§ When Jesus says today He actually expresses the divine summons of the grace of God. This is Kairos moment, an opportune time that can not be missed. You may look at yourself at think that nothing good can come your way, BUT Jesus is interested in you as you are – only if you can turn to Him in faith.

§ Paradise is a promise of eternal satisfaction, it is a moment of divine companionship with the creator, an experience of eternal peace with self and God.

§ What lesson can we learn from this confession and promise? It is never too late to turn to Christ and trust Him. No one is too old or too young for salvation. No one is too dirty or too special to know God.

§ Dear friend; while there is still life in your body, there is hope! If friends have failed you, you still have one more friend to turn to – Jesus the Christ is His Name.


John 19:26-27 “Dear mother, here is your son, … here is your mother”

§ This saying is an expression of divine love at work. Such is the love of God for a helpless sinner.

§ As Jesus stood by the cross, He was not alone despite the fact that his male friends had all run away. There were four women of great faith around Him. These were: a) Mary, her mother.

b) Salome, the mother of John and James the sons of Zebedee.

c) Mary Magdalene

d) Mary, the wife of Cleopas.

§ These four, were great women of faith whose companionship with Jesus is given ample space in the scriptures – true disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ. Their love for Jesus was genuine love, not the coward male friends who disappeared as soon as Jesus submitted Himself to His enemies.

§ At the climax of pain, Jesus did not die in self pity. He prayed to see those who loved Him taking care of each other: “your mother, … your son.” Such is the amazing nature of God.

§ Calvary and its calamity did not break Jesus’ bond and fellowship with those that He had shared special moments with. He remembered his homely duties and asked that his disciples learn to live together in true love.

§ What are the lesson for the believers? As you face the challenges of life today, Jesus Christ still cares about you. He wants you to belong to His family, the Church. You need to be in the Church if you want to be at home with Jesus.


Matthew 27:46 “My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?”

§ This is a meditation prayer of Jesus at the climax of His life and ministry. The prayer is based on the Jewish prayer of confidence in God (Psalm 22). The prayer is rhetoric in nature and spiritually laden with hope and faith in God.

§ For Jesus, God’s name was the only closest thing He could think of when all His friends and family finally stood a distance. His disciples had ‘taken cover’. He felt lonely and deserted. But all round Him was the presence of God.

§ In this prayer Jesus expressed His humanity, fully. As he suffered pain, He reminded us that in moments like these we need to trust in God.

§ “My God, My God …” are words of total dependence in God. The phrase expresses a unique relationship between man and God. They are not an empty plea but a faith testament of hope.

§ What lesson do we get here? As you struggle with your existential problems, remember that there is a God who sees and cares! Trust God for a way out and God will not disappoint you.


John 19:28 “I am thirst”.

§ This is one of the most interesting Sayings of Jesus on the cross. The focus is on His needs in the midst of despair. Jesus had addressed all the needs of His disciples and family, he now could attend to His own needs.

§ But what did Jesus really mean in this proclamation? Was it an ordinary thirst or there was something deeper? The scripture follows closely the text found in Psalm 69:21.

§ Whatever the meaning, I thirst is a moving cry coming from one who claimed to provide living water that all who drink of it will never thirst again (John 4:14 & 6:35)

§ Let us remember that in His earthly life we refused Him water (John 4:7-10). Jesus had to go through the dry land in order to prove to us that God really cares. In the hour of need, Jesus was thirst for a new life, a new beginning, a better future, eternity with God.

§ What is the lesson for us? When we hunger after evil things let us be reminded that these are but worthless things that separate us from friends and family. We need to thirst for better things in life; things that unite us and make us a better people, things that freshen our zeal for God and not destruction.


John 19:30 “It is finished!”

§ This is the most exiting proclamation of Jesus on the cross. Go back to the first Saying, behold the order of events and the flow of issues as you move to this saying. The whole history of salvation is wound up! Jesus then declares, ‘tetelestai’ / “It is finished”.

§ You must have in mind the fact that Jesus committed Himself to save humanity, He committed Himself to take up the cross and did not regret the journey to Calvary but walked it all the way to the end – then He declares “It is finished”.

§ Jesus did not die in despair He gave up His life in Victory. He looked at His Ministry and proudly declared; it is done, “It is finished”. “I have achieved my task”

§ On the cross, Christ seemed to be broken and yet He won the biggest victories of all and for all. Finished was the work of salvation.

§ What is our lesson? If Christ died in victory then what? You should not die in bondage and despair you should live a better life in this world which Christ conquered. The doubt, anger and alienation in you heart must cease BUT only if you lay your burden to Him who is Lord over all things.


Luke 23:46 “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit”

§ This is a testament of hope in a world of despair and hopelessness. Jesus was not just dying He submitted Himself to God’s divine care. “Into your hands…” is a commitment utterance, a faith declaration.

§ In God He existed and from God He came, and now to God He returns at the close of His Ministry. “Into your hands…” is a faithful discharge of authority to the Master. Jesus had finished his task on earth and had no business remaining here.

§ After having been down the valleys and up the mountains, Jesus had to call it a day. He had taught humankind the nature of God and the will of God and now He had to see people grow themselves up in faith.

§ “…I commit my spirit” are words full of confidence. This was Jesus’ final prayer. A prayer of total dependence in God. As He uttered this prayer it would seem , to me, that the whole history of salvation was sealed.

§ What is our lesson? In moments of desperation you can trust God and commit your ways to the one and only living God our Saviour.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009



The following is an interview which I withheld its publication because I was not convinced the intention of the interviewer was genuine at the time. I have now decided that it be published because the assignment I was given to write on Political Participation in Zimbabwe requires that I bring out how those Christian leaders who dared involve in issues that really affected people were misrepresented by the local media. I was one of those who was demonized and given names. Titles like “Churches must be apolitical: Mugabe”(1); “Clergymen arrested, quizzed over ‘new party’ ”(2); “Zimbabwe should apologise to Britain: Kadenge”(3); “Bishop Kadenge singing for his supper”(4); “Bishop accused of using church facilities for political activities”(5); “Kadenge splits Methodist Church”(6), were among many published in local dailies. These headlines were designed to make me and my colleagues in the struggle for democracy to look like partisan politicians and not faithful ministers. To be safe, one had to keep quiet. Those of us who spoke out were made to feel isolated and outcasts. So one had to risk being involved in issues of bread and butter for the society or you left things to fate. I chose to follow the example of Jesus, the Christ – identified with the suffering masses and became the voice of the marginalized.

Interview Questions (02 11 2006)
By Caesar Zvayi
Features and Political Editor
The Herald.

Question: The Reverend Bishop Levee Kadenge, so many things have been written and said about you but our readers may want to know from the horse’s mouth, who really is Levee Kadenge?

Answer: I am a simple child of God who feels called to do His work. I was born in 1953 in Chivhu. I have a very strong rural background. I am a reverend in the Methodist Church in Zimbabwe. I am also currently the bishop of Harare West District.

I have been a student of religion for more than 27 years. I am privileged to have been educated by the Church which has seen me go through six degrees and several undergraduate and post graduate certificates. I studied theology at the following universities; University of South Africa (UNISA), Bristol University, Aberdeen University, Edinburgh University (non-graduating Student), University of Kwazulu Natal and University of Zimbabwe. I attained a doctorate degree (D.Phil.) at UZ in 1998 and was caped by His Excellency the President R.G. Mugabe. I have studied African Traditional Religion extensively and I am a consultant in that area.

I sit on a number of boards and chair some of them. I am an accomplished peasant/small scale farmer. I am actually a member of the Zimbabwe Farmers’ Union ZFU. I major in small grains particularly rapoko (zviyo) and groundnuts. I keep cattle, goats and chickens (free runners). My home and my neighbor’s were recommended for agricultural show in the last agricultural year. My neighbor is a senior professional agriculturalist.

I have been a critical social analyst since 1985. I have written more than 400 published and unpublished articles mainly for the Herald and Sunday Mail particularly for the famous “As I see it” column during the time of Charles Chikerema’s editorship of the later paper until his death in 1998. I actually write on a daily basis. I have “mountains” of unpublished material which are my reflections on social challenges in the context of creating a democratic space.

I say all the above information in humility and appreciation of what God has blessed me with. I take all this as nothing. What I treasure most is my call to do God’s work.

I am married to Maybe and we have 3 children and one grandson. My wife is a nurse by profession. She is working at home full time. My wife is my greatest admirer and supporter like I also do to her.

Question: As religious leader, what is your perspective on the relationship between the Church and State?

Answer: The Church and State are two institutions; one religious and the other secular. They are two arms of authority. They both service the people. In my view they complement each other. The State represents temporary/earthly powers while the Church represents everlasting authority derived from God. While the State derives its authority from people the Church takes its power from God. Good governments are approved by God, but bad governments are a result of mankind’s selfishness.

Question: You are the Convener of the Christian Alliance CA that has taken an adversarial position to the initiative by Heads of Christian Denominations HCOD who resolved to engage rather that confront the Government on the way forward. How do you reconcile that to the religious leader’s role as arbiter in society?

Answer: First there is a spokesperson for CA. Had it not been of the accusations leveled against me I was not going to speak about CA? The views that follow are my own. It is not true that Christian Alliance has taken an adversarial attitude towards HOCD initiative of the New Vision Document NVD. My view is that the NVD is a response to our initiative of bringing Zimbabweans together to discuss the crisis we are faced with. And we are happy that HOCD has come to life and they are doing what they are doing. What is happening is that the NVD has come in handy at a time when several initiatives are needed because the present task and that ahead of us needs many approaches. While the HOCD is working closely with the government the CA is working with the civil society and all other political parties except the ruling party because even after our invitation to it to come and discuss our crisis it did not honour the invitation.

Invitations to all leaders of political parties were sent out for the Save Zimbabwe Convention which was held on 29 July 2006 at the Rainbow Towers grounds. Unfortunately the ruling party did not come. Our idea, as CA, was to bring together all Zimbabwean leaders of political parties, civil society and Church leaders. Though there were so many Christians who came from Zimbabwe Council of Churches ZCC, Zimbabwe Catholics Bishops Conference ZCBC and Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe EFZ. These branches were not officially represented in spite of the invitations we sent them. Look, we were really hoping that everyone invited could have come and the outcome of that meeting would have been different from what has transpired. CA is a catalyst movement. We are just there to facilitate for peaceful social change for the good of all. We are a group of men and women of God who feel called by God to help solve the crisis in a peaceful manner through prophetic witness. We are ordinary prophets who speak without fear or favor. Those who think that CA speaks against them have something to hide.

Question: Your Church, the Methodist Church in Zimbabwe falls under the purview of the Zimbabwe Council of Churches that was also part to the vision document – the Zimbabwe We Want. How do you reconcile the CA, that many say was formed to oppose the Heads of Christian Denominations initiative, and your membership of the Church which is party to the initiative?

Answer: First CA was not formed to oppose HOCD initiative. We came into being when the Church was so quiet and silent about the crisis in this country. It is only when we came into being that the HOCD came alive and we are happy about that development. Our hope is that one day we will work together. We have been called a ‘fringe’ group by some members of the HOCD and we are happy about that description. The scriptures are very clear, “where two or three are gathered I am there” says the Lord. We are children of the HOCD and one cannot tell his/her parents how to describe their children. Children accept any description given by their parents. We are their products. It is said that Karl Max was a child of the Church and Capitalism. Had they brought him well he was not going to adopt Communism. Had the HOCD been speaking like they are doing now we would not have been born as CA. But now that they have given birth to us they have to kill us like what other parents have done to their children or will have to carry the ‘burden’. They will have to live with us as their product. We respect the HOCD. If we have said untoward things about them we are sorry. This is only a phase and soon we will be working together. That is our prayer. I am sure they also want to work together with us. It is only when we join hands that we will be true shepherds. As it is now, we need to put our house in order.

My membership of ZCC is not negotiable or compromised. All the CA members are either members of ZCC, EFZ or ZCBC. I take the three above denominational groupings as having formed a broad alliance to work out our crisis. If we join the NVD we will be a broader alliance and that will be great. We are ready to join them but the question is, are they prepared to accept us. We maybe prodigal sons and we need to be accepted as such. We will always want to be treated as children who can also think for themselves. The challenge is whether we can be accepted as we are, because what we are doing as CA is part of the Great Commission.

We are not in opposition, competition or parallel to the HOCD. I see ourselves as complementing HOCD initiative. We complement them and they do the same to us. My prayer is that one day or very soon we will be working together. On our part we are ready to work together with them.

Question: Aren’t your activities in the CA dividing the Church along political lines, I am reminded here of one article you wrote in The Sunday Mail on October 4 1998, in which you said “divisions within Christianity allow for the percolation of the satanic movement into the religious arena?

Answer: Caesar, who said we are political or we are politicians? Why can you not accept the way people describe themselves? You are a journalist and that is what you call yourself. We are a Christian organization and this is what we want to be known as. The problem I see is that you say we are not what we say we are. What authority are you using to describe us in the fashion you are doing? We will not be politicians because our call does not allow that. We feel the urge to work in God’s vineyard and nowhere else. We are prepared to denounce injustice, repression and subjugation of ordinary citizens without fear or favour. If it hurts others, tough luck!

On divisions within the Church you are right division cause the devil to come in. As I see it there is no division. It is a question of different initiatives being taken. The HOCD say in their document that there is unity in diversity. Look at what is happening within the three groups of Churches. They have joined together for a purpose but they have not destroyed their independence. They are one on this purpose and I am sure they will be working together in many other areas. That is unity in diversity they have called for. I pray for the day when we will be appreciated and we will be an added partner to the broader ecumenical movement.

Question: Still on divisions in the Church. There are reports that your political activities have seriously divided the Methodist Church in Zimbabwe’s Harare District, amid reports that you are victimizing people believed to be sympathetic to ZANU PF and those opposed to the CA by transferring them to parishes outside your district, your comments on that?

Answer: You continue to talk about my political activities. I am not involved in party politics. If CA was to move to becoming a political party that is the day I will leave it. I am a member of the Zimbabwe National Pastors Conference ZNPC and my well known message to members who are all over the country is “never join party politics. You will actually be reducing yourself by joining a political party. A pastor should be above party politics.” If there are people who you are saying are accusing me that I am dividing the Church because of my participation in politics they should come open if they are Christians. A true Christian should not be anonymous. Hiding one’s identity shows that one is being hypocritical. A Christian should just be open despite the consequences. That is the mark of a Christian. Jesus Christ did not hide his identity, why should we? That is not being Christian.

The question of divisions is news to me. My prayer is that if there is something like that because of me then people should come forward as Christians and just tell me in my eyes and I will act accordingly.

Question: What of reports that you are being used by the MDC to convert amenable Church Leaders to its regime change agenda, they say you are the point man in the party’s attempt to get control of strategic institutions?

Answer: That is not true. I just wonder where you get that information. Like I said before the CA intention was to have all political parties coming together. The 29 July Save Zimbabwe Convention was my first encounter with many of the opposition political leaders. What strategic institutions are you talking about? In my opening remarks at the Save Zimbabwe Convention I said that “we are not here to delegate political power or enter into politics.” Whoever is monitoring my movement and activities must approach me personally and sit down and talk so that he/she is very clear about what we are doing. There is no need to spy on me. I am very harmless and very approachable. I/we have nothing to hide. I am just living my faith. Inspector Mapuranga with other two senior officers from the Law and Order Section, Harare Central Police Station interviewed me in August this year for one and half hours and I thought I had answered all their questions satisfactorily. He however informed me that my activities had been and would be monitored. If those who are monitoring me want to know anything they are very free to approach me personally and not just speculate. Why do they have to avoid me. Let them come in the open. We are all Zimbabwean. No one is more Zimbabwean than me. I am a patriotic citizen.

Question: You convened the Save Zimbabwe convention on July 29, at which opposition parties resolved to unite into a Broad Alliance with a view to fielding one presidential candidate. Aren’t such activities ultra vires provisions of the Deed of the Church Order and Standing Orders of 1997 that debars Church leaders from active politics?

Answer: Yes we convened the Save Zimbabwe Convention on 29 July where we invited all political parties and civil society groups and Churches. It is not true that we formed a broad alliance to choose one leader. We see ourselves as a catalyst organization which only exists to help people to lead themselves. Once our task is over we move on. The Prophetic actions which we take are in line with Biblical principles of peaceful actions and activities. The Standing Orders of the Methodist Church you are quoting do not forbid what I am saying, but what you are saying which I am not doing. When are you going to accept people as what they are say they do and not describe them as you perceive them? I am sure you would not want me to accuse you of what you are not doing. So learn to be professional in your journalism. Stick to your ethics, don’t be partisan.

Question: You have also been accused of preaching anti-Government sermons at Mabelreign Parish where you are based, contrary to Section 3 of the Deed of the Church Order that says “no minister or preacher is to preach party politics from the pulpit,” your comments?

Answer: I am really surprised that you say I preach party politics. When I preach I pray about it and ask God for guidance and what follows is what I would have been inspired to do. No one has ever come to me to complain. On the day in question many people came to me congratulating me for such a challenging sermon. Perhaps those who had come for other reasons other than worship might have not really taken the message as it was. Yes I know there are people who come to church services I conduct to investigate whether I am preaching politics. And surely they have every right to interpret in the way they like and that is their baby. For me I will not stoop so low as to preach party politics. I have never joined a political party in my life. I voted in 1979. I was subsequently forced to buy a political party (ZANU PF) card in 1983 while I was ministering at Ndolwane in Matebeleland when all the villagers were required to buy ruling party cards. I remember traveling 100 kilometers to Plumtree just to go and buy that card.

Question: You recently shocked many when you were quoted saying Zimbabwe should apologize, not the other way round. Can you shed light on such sentiments?

Answer: I did not know that I shocked people when I said Zimbabwe should apologize to Britain. As a Christian apologising is a way of life. I was misrepresented. I am sure the writer was on a mission to tarnish my name. What I did say was that the British should first come and apologise for first taking the land from our ancestors and after that we also should apologise for the way we took back our land. I support land reform in a big way. I did not say we should apologise for taking land but for the way we did it. You do not lose anything by apologising. Actually you gain a lot by doing so. Once you have apologised you are now in charge. If you apologise you disarm your enemy and he/she is now in your hands. Refusing to apologise makes your task difficult. The Lord’s Prayer teaches us to apologise and to forgive.

Question: Coming to the National Vision Document, I know you were opposed to the whole initiative, but what are your impressions of the document?

Answer: I have not been opposed to the National Vision Document. We welcome the initiative which has been long overdue. Anyway coming late as it has done does not make it useless. At least the Church is now talking and I am so happy. My prayer is that the Church remains focused and not be detracted from fighting for justice by those who hold a political sword.

Question: How could CA have gone about the process?

Answer: All the things in the NVD are what we already have. We are praying that the sooner Zimbabweans start dialoguing the better for the nation. There is no need to fight unless we want to keep what we do not deserve. You destroy your enemy by loving them and not by fighting them. Once you love an enemy they cease to be one. I would have thought the right approach was to consult people first before presenting the document. That is my opinion which may be disputed by others. In a free society people are entitled to their own opinions. In this country we are forced to think alike – but that is just impossible. Thank you. God bless.

End Notes

1 Karonga, Tinofa, “Churches must be apolitical: Mugabe,” Daily Mirror, 26 June 2006, Harare, page 1.
2 Dongozi, Foster, “Clergymen arrested, quizzed about ‘new party’,” The Standard, 6 August 2006, page 1.
3 Mangwende, Brain, “Zimbabwe should apologise to Britain: Kadenge,” Daily Mirror, 26 September 2006, page 1.
4 Comment (Voice of Mirror), “Bishop Kadenge Singing for his Supper,” Daily Mirror, 27 September 2006, page 10.
5 Zvayi, Caesar, “Bishop accused of using church facilities for political activities,” The Herald, Harare, 30 October 2006, page 2.
6 Harare Bureau, “Kadenge Splits Methodist Church,” Chronicle, Bulawayo, 30 October 2006. page 2.

3448 Words

Saturday, April 4, 2009

CHURCH - 10 Years of Struggle

This essay interrogates the Church’s social responsibility in the struggle for democratic change in Zimbabwe. The motif of this investigation is the Church’s calling and her mission. Theologians are generally agreed that the Church is a manifestation of the kingdom of God on earth. Pete Henriot writes, “A God who is not involved in the lives of the people is no God at all. A Saviour that is not involved in the lives of the people is no Saviour at all. (The Post, Lusaka, 11 December 2007). In the same vein one can argue, a Church that is not involved in the lives of the people that it seeks to serve is no Church at all. From this understanding of the Church, one can conclude that the Church is a transforming and empowering community; it is the continued presence of Jesus the Christ on earth. This implies that the Church cannot afford to be indifferent and isolated in the face of our socio-political and economic challenges. The critical questions that define the Church’s role in search of peace are:
• What is the role of Christianity in the light of our human experiences of pain, hurt and suffering?
• Has the Church been an instrument of grace in a polarised political environment?

Church activism in the context of social disintegration and national polarisation demands a practical social and political engagement with the relevant arms of the state and the relevant political players/ parties toward a socio-political contract which will give birth to peace and democratic space for all and to all. The climax of this moral role learns from divine justice; “I have heard the cry and seen the suffering of my people.” (Exodus 3: 7). This is about reconstruction and transformational theology. Such theology is interested in the promotion of social justice and human development. Such a role has to be informed by Jesus’ declaration: “I came that all may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10: 10), and “My peace I leave with you.” (John 14: 28). The Church’s role is explored using access points that include liberation, reconciliation and reconstruction, vis-à-vis democratic values of the quest for human dignity and participation of all people in decisions that affect the quality and direction of their lives.

Being Church to a nation in crisis
Bosch (1979:20) argues that the Church can either legitimate the status quo or call for its reconstruction and transformation. The first option tends to be a narrow and naïve perception that the Church cannot engage in political matters because it is not a political entity. The second notion employs the Jesus methodology of reaching out to the broken heart, bruised and scandalised persons. It places the Church at the centre of human creativity and healing. This second option reminds us that the Church is a living and loving community, it is in the world to serve human beings as an attempt to make this world a better place to live in.

It is observed that by preaching justice, promoting peace and human welfare; the Church stands above narrow political issues. For Bonhoeffer (1974: 127) the Church exists for others just as Christ exist for the Church. It is from such a context that the late Rev. Professor Canaan Sodindo Banana would argue that the Church must continue being a watchdog of democracy and ensure that no impediments are placed on the path of those wishing to exercise their God-given rights (Banana C.S. (1996: 78).

The Church has, in general, affirmed that the democratization process calls for a creative dialectic of liberation, reconciliation, reconstruction (renewal) and democracy. Liberation, reconciliation and reconstruction are values that are mutually inclusive in the agenda for the attainment of democracy, particularly in the renaissance from colonial oppression and dictatorship. In this context, the Church has shared in Christ’s redemptive healing ministry in the struggle for democratic space in Zimbabwe. This is true because “Christianity is not primarily an idea, creed --- or an ecclesiastical institution, instead it is a way of life that is basically concerned with quality relationships” (Lindgren 1965: 55).

The Catholic Church in Zimbabwe’s role in the promotion of democracy is visible through its Pastoral Letters as issued by the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishop’s Conference (hereinafter called Z.C.B.C.). In May, 1998, the Z.C.B.C. issued a pastoral letter “Working For The Common Good”, The Bishops observed that the social disintegration had its roots in the growing trends of poverty, the shrinking economy and government’s lack of initiative to attend to these challenges. In particular, the Z.C.B.C. declared; “Our Conviction is that if we are able to dialogue constructively, openly and widely, with a special concern for the vulnerable, we will unite together----- for the common good of Zimbabwe….”(Page 2). In the same letter, it is noted; “an Economic System that brings so few people into the world is seriously flamed” (Page 2). The letter also states that a government that closes space for the ordinary citizens deserves no respect. The Z.C.B.C warned against the weird economic policies that the government was employing and the closure of democratic space saying; “Genuine Dialogues between State and all Sections of Civil society is required” (Page 3). On 17th April 2000, the Z.C.B.C. issued a strong statement condemning political violence. The pastoral letter entitled ‘Easter Message’ reads, in part: “The real problems of this country …cannot be solved by violence... Threatening, insulting and racist language cannot be tolerated. The laws of the country that protect people from abuse and physical assault must be enforced. The courts must be respected.” This statement positioned the Church as the voice of God and the voice of the suffering masses. Sadly, the sentiments expressed in the Easter message were quickly forgotten even by some of the bishops serve for the few who continued to be advocates of social justice amidst the continued violence by those who had the political sword/ weapon in their favour. The clumsy road toward the 2008 March 29 Harmonised Election was discerned through ‘God Hears the Cry of the Oppressed.’ In this pastoral letter, the ZCBC declared that Zimbabwe was in a crisis, both politically and economically. The ZCBC noted the nature of the crisis as being characterised by:
a. A crisis of governance
b. A crisis of moral leadership
c. A spiritual and moral crisis
In their summation of the crisis, the Z.C.B.C. concluded, “No to power through violence, oppression and intimidation! We call upon those who are responsible for the current crisis in our country to repent and listen to the cry of their citizens.” (2007:10).

The Zimbabwe Council of Churches (hereinafter called ZCC), the country’s largest Ecumenical movement, played its prophetic role during the liberation struggle (1970s) and in the late 1990s when Zimbabwe’s political and economic misfortunes became a glaring reality. The ZCC gave birth to the formation of the National Constitutional Assembly (hereinafter called NCA) in 1998 while working closely with the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU). Interestingly Mr. Morgan Tsvangirai became the first popular chairman of the NCA. Through this joint initiative between Church and civic society the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) was to be born. One can safely say the Church with other civic groups played a midwifery role at the birth of MDC. The idea of forming a political party did not come from the church.

Sadly for ZCC, when the NCA became extremely vocal in its demand for a people driven constitution the Council of Churches chickened out of the whole process. Sadly, the painful years of the struggle for democratic space have seen the Council of Churches taking a back seat hence the emergence of the new prophetic Church bodies that took it upon themselves to advance the struggle for democracy. Since 2000 ZCC has issued out cautious press statements on the prevailing political and economic problems. In 2005 just before the General Election, the Z.C.C. declared that “all citizens were encouraged to exercise their right to vote without fear” But the Council did not condemn those who made others afraid to exercise their democratic right to vote.

The Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe (hereinafter called EFZ), a grouping of the Evangelicals and Pentecostal Churches in Zimbabwe has, in general, a negative attitude toward secular concerns. The main thrust of this Christian organisation is “winning of the lost souls.” The E.F.Z. has generally avoided making pastoral statements on the prevailing socio-political economic state of affairs. Their vocal national statements are those that have been issued in collaboration with other Church Bodies.

Christian Alliance is a grouping of those citizens who feel called to stand for peace and justice while fighting against all forms of injustice and violence that tends to demean God’s good creation. Christian Alliance was formed in October 2005 as an initiative of the Churches in Bulawayo. Its mandate is prophetic action. This Christian grouping brings together faithful believers from across all Christian denominations. The thrust of Christian Alliance is that of resisting political decay and violence.

The activities of Christian Alliance include public prayer meetings, which were dealt with under POSA (Public Order and Security Act) since the ZANU PF government feared that such prayer meetings were giving rise to resistance by the masses. This was an attempt by the ZANU PF government to muzzle the Church from exercising its democratic and religious mandate as the voice of God to a broken people.

A Christian Alliance sister organization the Institute of Theological Reflection Today (ITRT) provided a theological platform for discourse/ dialogue on prophetic witness. Its programs increased awareness on the role of the Church in the promotion of democracy, Religion and Governance and those issues that relate to justice. The ITRT has brought about a sense of urgency in praxis theology. It has revitalized the meaning of liberation theology.

The birth of the Save Zimbabwe Convention SZC witnesses to the climax of the Church’s struggle for a democratic Zimbabwe. This movement was launched on the 29th July 2006 as a joint initiative of the Churches, civic society and some political parties as a rallying platform for a democratic Zimbabwe. The initiative was convened and chaired by the Christian Alliance (the Voice of the Church). One can argue that the constituting of the Save Zimbabwe Campaign climaxed the struggle for democracy as it brought together all like minded people and thereby enhanced the struggle for democracy. It was not surprising that ZANU PF boycotted the Convention. The sad thing though was that after the SZC meeting the government security agents terrorised the leadership of CA.

It is necessary to point out the fact that Christian Alliance provided spiritual guidance and space for prayers. Such prayers would ultimately lead to 11th of March 2007 fiasco where innocent citizens, civic society leaders and political leaders were scandalously beaten up by a partisan police force at the instigation of ZANU PF. On this day (11/03/2007), the World became aware of the nature of the brutal dictatorship in Zimbabwe. The president of Zimbabwe Robert Mugabe was subsequently summoned to Southern Africa Development Community SADC and then to African Union AU to be instructed to negotiate with MDC with the help of Thabo Mbeki the then leader of South Africa.

Lessons for the Church
To be a Church means being defined by the mission of Christ in a hurting world. It involves being active on socio-political matters. This results in a Church that is incarnate in the real world of pain and suffering. Such action results in transformational and reconstruction theology – a theology of liberation and hope. Such a theology is central to the gospel message. A real Church cannot escape being a transforming and liberating agent in the search for peace and democracy. The political crises we face today is a direct challenge to the saving power of the Gospel hence the Church can not afford to remain silent when its membership is being brutalised by those who claim political authority.

Rev Sifiso Mpofu
Bishop Levee Kadenge

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

National Healing and Reconciliation Summit on cards

A summit to explore ways of reconciling Zimbabweans divided
by almost a decade of political fighting blamed on President Robert
Mugabe's radical supporters is set for next month, a cabinet minister said last week.

The country was last year plunged into what has been described as the
worst political violence since the end of the Gukurahundi massacres in the
Midlands and Matabeleland after Mugabe lost the first round of the
presidential poll in March.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, who garnered more votes during the
first round of the elections, was forced to withdraw from the June 27
run-off poll after Zanu PF militants murdered almost 200 of his Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) supporters.

Thousands others were forced to flee their homes in Zanu PF
strongholds as the 85-year-old leader embarked on a vicious fight back.

But since Zanu PF and the MDC formations formed a unity government
last month, there have been moves to promote national reconciliation in
order to rebuild the country.

The Minister of State in the Prime Minister's office, Gorden Moyo said
the cabinet ministers charged with leading the national healing process had
started consultations on the way forward with various stakeholders.

"The Ministers will also hold a summit next month to be attended by
various stakeholders to discuss and prepare a framework for undertaking
national healing and reconciliation.

"The whole process is sensitive and has to be handled with care, that
is why they have to come up with an agreed framework," Moyo said in an

Zanu PF chairman John Nkomo, MDC vice-president Gibson Sibanda and
Sekai Holland from the Tsvangirai-led MDC are the Ministers of State
responsible for national healing.

"It's part of their mandate to hear the best way forward to lead the
process," Moyo said.

"Once they have a draft framework they will present it to the Council
of Ministers for debate, ratification and approval."

However, Christian Alliance, a grouping of various church
denominations says the church should lead the national healing and
reconciliation process as Zanu PF and the MDC formations lack the moral high
ground to lead the process.

"The process should be led by the church because it is not a political
process," said Christian Alliance national director, Useni Sibanda.

"Political parties are the originators of this conflict and lack the
morality to undertake national healing and reconciliation. They also need to
be reconciled by the church."

He said examples should be drawn from countries such as South Africa
and Rwanda, where independent bodies led the process of achieving
reconciliation and ensuring transitional justice.

Activists have called on the joint transitional government to
implement a clear programme of action on past human rights abuses to avoid a
repeat of rights violations in future.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) in a report released on Thursday said
perpetrators of human rights violations should be prosecuted as part of
reforms to avoid a repeat of the abuses.

Since 2000 Mugabe's old administration attracted international censure
for its poor human rights record which has resulted in sanctions for the
ageing leader's inner circle.