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Religious Leaders Tell Politicians to Stay Away From Churches

Churches in Manicaland are warning politicians ahead of this year’s election that places of worship should not be abused to seek support.

Addressing journalists at a press briefing in the eastern border city Friday, church leaders from the Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe and the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace said they are worried by the continuing abuse of the church by political leaders in the country.

Reverend Lloyd Nyarota of the CCJP said the churches felt there was a need to block politicians from using church gatherings to churn out political propaganda as they seek political support.

He says church leadership in the province would want to work with political leaders in the country but outside their churches.

Reverend Nyarota said the church is calling for political maturity from all political party leaders to ensure there polls are violence free.

He said it is sad that other church leaders have openly declared their support for some political parties.

He added that leaders emerging from the July 31 election should seriously support to the national peace and reconciliation commission and put in place mechanisms to ensure post conflict justice, healing and reconciliation.

The church leaders said they are concerned by the high levels of poverty in the country, especially in naturally rich provinces like Manicaland. A new government, they said, should address all these ills.

Nyarota said the church is also worried that the just-ended voter registration came to an end before all eligible voters were registered on the voters’ roll.

In their pastoral letter, the church leaders said political leaders in the country should be God-fearing.

But Pastor Evan Mafukidze of the New Kingdom Ministries said he sees nothing wrong in politicians addressing church congregations as long as they do not churn out hate speech.

The pastoral statement from the churches comes at a time when President Robert Mugabe is set to address the Christians at the Johane Marange Mafararikwa Shrine on Saturday in Manicaland.
President Mugabe, Prime Minister Tsvangirai and other political leaders have in the past addressed different church groupings.