Home » Governance » President Morgan Tsvangirai’s Talking Points At a Discussion Panel of the Council of African Apostles Summit [press release]

Zimbabweans are generally a God-fearing people who want a God-fearing leadership. From the outset let us all agree on this fact that God is certainly of far much higher authority than politicians and political parties. It is to Him that we must defer utmost respect and authority.

Firstly, I want to thank the church for having invited the political leadership to this platform. It is refreshing for the church to invite politicians in this country as our sad experience is that of politicians inviting the church to rallies and other political platforms, such as welcoming politicians at the airport.

Since time immemorial, the relationship between the State and the church has evolved. In this 21st century, we believe in the complementarity of roles between the State and the church to serve the people, both physically and spiritually. The church is our moral compass and must never allow the State to be its compass, even though it is necessary to operate within the confines of the laws of the land.

Across historical contexts and epochs, most citizens have felt that the State must not be involved in matters of individual faith and conviction. The business of faith is not the business of the State!

However, religion has not retreated from the public realm. Religion continues to act as a guide to belief and action. The reality, therefore, is that religion continues to matter to individuals and to the State itself.

On too many occasion, the State functionaries have sought to lecture the church on what its limits are. They would like the church to concentrate on what they call “purely spiritual matters,” while they focus on politics and governance. In my considered opinion, this is an unacceptable attempt to silence the church from playing its prophetic role.

In our case, the church must challenge those at the helm of the State to ensure that they address the massive loss of confidence and the existential crisis that we as citizens find ourselves in.

As citizens, we continue to ask, for how long shall we suffer? The church must walk with the people of God. It must challenge the State to bring dignity to the people o Zimbabwe so that they can regain their lost pride. The church and the State must collaborate to realize the vision that all human beings are the image of God and must enjoy the fullness of life.

The State and the church must celebrate each day and proclaim: “This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

Pre-indepence in Zimbabwe, while the church through the missionaries was forerunners to colonialism, a number of scholars have highlighted the contributions of various churches towards the liberation struggle.

Post-independence, the church, having supported the struggle, was complicit in the atrocities of Gukurahundi through its deafening silence. The church, however, continued to assist in the provision of social services through the establishment of church schools and hospitals.

Post-2000, the tyranny of the State against the people increased and the majority of the Christian community was largely silent.

In 2003, a man of God, one Prophet Godfrey Nzira, one of the leaders of these churches that were now playing a political role, was convicted of rape but was saved by Presidential clemency.

Who will protect the people if the men and women of God are at the forefront of abusing people and getting protection from the State?

Churches are places where people seek both physical and spiritual refuge. In Chiweshe, we have our supporters who were murdered in a church where they had sought refuge in the post -election violence of 2008.

The good news is that Zimbabweans are a God-fearing people and two years ago, we made a Constitution that makes it clear in its preamble that this nation recognizes the supremacy of God in all its affairs.

“The new Constitution now reads in part “Acknowledging the supremacy of the Almighty God, in whose hands our future lies.”

Zimbabweans simply want the footprints of a truly God-fearing leadership to be seen in the way their leaders govern this nation.

Source : Movement for Democratic Change