Some church and community leaders under various umbrella bodies say Zimbabweans have lost confidence in the government and say there is urgent need for a national dialogue between the government and different stakeholders in order to help avert the ongoing crisis.
Leaders from different church groups, civic organization activists as well as ordinary people gathered in Bulawayo on Sunday and prayed for God’s intervention in the ongoing social, political and economic crisis in Zimbabwe.
Chairperson Reverend Ray Motsi of the Christian Alliance of Zimbabwe, which convened the gathering, told Studio 7 that the initiative is as a result of the realization that the church has been silent amid all the hardships that ordinary Zimbabweans are facing.
He said the situation in the country compels the church to give guidance to people.
At the gathering some people - many of them women and children- who were reportedly brutalized by police in the aftermath of recent protests in Bulawayo, gave testimonies of their experiences.
Reverend Motsi blasted the police saying instead of harassing people they should uphold their human rights and protect them in violent situations.
He said the church should not be afraid to speak out against the country’s political leadership where it has failed the people.
At the service, the church leaders and civic organisations including, the Zimbabwe Council of Churches, the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops Conference, Ecumenical Fellowship of Zimbabwe, Union for the Development of Apostolic Churches in Zimbabwe, the Ecumenical Church Leaders Forum and Habakuk Trust, issued a statement expressing their concern over the situation in the country.
Part of their statement stressed that the people have lost confidence in the government and there is need for the government to get into dialogue with various national stakeholders so as to help stem the deepening crisis.
Secretary general Godden Moyo of the People’s Democratic Party, who also attended the service, agreed with the view that the country’s political leadership has failed the nation and said his party supports the church’s call for national dialogue.
Some observers have often criticized the church in Zimbabwe for not speaking out against government excesses or for showing support for the government even where it has failed.
On the other hand, government has often disapproved of the few churches that have spoken out against it accusing them of interfering in politics.
Reverend Motsi said following Sunday’s gathering he expects more church denominations to join the initiative so that the church can play its appropriate role of speaking truth to power.