1.2.1 Lack of a Shared National Vision
1.2.2 Political intolerance
1.2.3 Oppressive Laws
1.2.4 Failure to Produce a home grown democratic constitution ………………………..
1.2.5 Economy Mismanagement………………………………………………………….
1.2.6 Corruption…………………………………………………………………………..
1.2.7 The Land Issue
1.2.8 Loss of Friends and our Isolation
1.2.9 Inability of the Churches to Speak with One Voice on National Issues
3.2.1 Spirituality and Morality
3.2.2 Unity-in-diversity
3.2.3 Respect for Human Life and Dignity
3.2.4 Respect for Democratic Freedoms
3.2.5 Respect for Other Persons
3.2.6 Democracy and Good Governance
3.2.7 Participation and Subsidiarity
3.2.8 Sovereignty
3.2.9 Patriotism and Loyalty
3.2.10 Gender Equity
3.2.11 Social Solidarity and the Promotion of the Family
3.2.12 Stewardship of Creation
3.2.13 Justice and the Rule of Law
3.2.14 Service and Accountability
3.2.15 Promotion of the Common Good
3.2.16 Option for the Impoverished and Marginalized
3.2.17 Excellence
4.3.1 The Executive Authority
4.3.2 Legislature
4.3.3 The Judiciary
4.3.4 Bill of Rights
5.3 THEOLOGICAL REFLECTIONS Error! Bookmark not defined.
5.4.1 Targeted Relief
5.4.2 Policy Formulation
5.4.3 Economic Stabilization
5.4.4 Good Governance and the Creation of a Facilitative Environment for Development
5.4.5 Mainstreaming the Informal Sector
5.4.6 Sustained Economic Development
5.4.7 Building bridges with the international community…………………………………….
6.3.1 Land Reform and Policy
6.3.2 Agricultural Productivity
6.3.3 Social Protection
6.4.1 Increase Tenure Security and Complete Land Reform Programme
6.4.2 Allocation of Remaining and Additional Land
6.4.3 Handling of Special Enterprise Farms
6.4.4 Compensation
6.4.5 Dispute Resolution Relating to Disputed Land Infrastructure Acquisition…………..50

7.2.1 The Land Question
7.2.2 The National Constitution
7.2.3 Party-Politics and the Vision of the State/ Nation
7.2.4 Murambatsvina.
7.2.5 State Media
7.3.1 Disharmony is Destructive and Disruptive
7.3.2 Harmony Promotes Prosperity
7.4 RECONCILIATION AND RENEWAL…………………………………………………
7.5.1 Church to Church Activity
7.5.2 Use of Formal Ecumenical Organization……………………………………………
7.5.3 Use of Printed Material
7.5.4 Truth and Justice Commission

At the dawn of independence in 1980, a nation was born out of a protracted armed struggle and many years of pain, suffering and oppression. The ideals of the liberation war, of one person one vote and the yearning for freedom: freedom from oppression, freedom from racism, freedom from human indignity and violation, freedom from poverty and hunger, ignorance and disease coupled with the urgent and pressing need for the recovery and restoration of the land were the driving force behind the fight for liberation. Our new found national status amongst the family of nations created high hopes and expectations for a prosperous life. It was these ideals that fired our vision of a new Zimbabwe and unlocked the energies of people to work for a better Zimbabwe.
In the first fifteen years or so of post independence, Zimbabwe made tremendous strides in almost all spheres of life. It was a country full of promise and indeed the envy of most of the countries in Africa, South of the Sahara. We were able to build on the solid infrastructure which the colonial regime had managed to maintain despite the economic sanctions imposed by the United Nations after the Unilateral Declaration of Independence in 1965. Zimbabweans enjoyed a great sense of patriotism and earned a great deal of respect from their peers on the continent and the world at large.
Yet in 2005, Zimbabwe celebrated 25 years of independence facing a situation which was a far cry from the lofty ideals that gave birth to the Nation that 18th April 1980. The patriotic fervour, national pride and the once lofty and romantic ideals of independence were lost in the stark reality of a nation divided, traumatised and impoverished by a political, economic and social crisis whose solution does not seem to be anywhere in sight. Development indicators revealed that Zimbabwe had suffered a severe, downward spiral, an unrelenting economic melt-down characterised by the denudation of professionals and skilled personnel through massive brain drain, hyper-inflation (currently the highest in the world), shortages, decline in agricultural and manufacturing productivity, shortages of foreign currency, escalating corruption, drying up of foreign investments, and tourism dwindling to a trickle.
These negative indicators inflicted a heavy toll on the generality of the population. Health and education deteriorated. The quality of life generally has suffered immeasurably. We have seen the rapid growth of numbers of the rural and urban poor. In addition, the insidious HIV/AIDS is having a catastrophic effect on social and economic life. The turn of events has led to disillusionment.
It is well to remember that the liquidation of colonialism in Africa did not automatically deliver genuine participatory democracy. One of the consequences of Africa’s flirting with the one party state whether de facto or de jure was to prevent or at least delay, democracy, both in theory and practice from taking root. In Zimbabwe the forging of unity between ZANU PF and PF ZAPU in 1987 created a de facto one party state, but this was progressively accompanied by the development of political and social intolerance. Throughout the post independence period the country has not been able to respond adequately to the fundamental challenges of mobilizing consensus on constitutional and governance arrangements and the forging of a shared national vision and values.
In all these years and through the pain and suffering of the liberation war and the challenges of independence, the Church has been part of the unfolding national landscape, many times unseen and unnoticed as it went about its core business of preaching the gospel to the poor, and as it contributed to national development through schools, hospitals, humanitarian programs and care for the orphans, widows and the disadvantaged. Even though many-a-time the Church or its components has appeared too slow and unresponsive to the ebb and sway of current affairs, particularly in the political arena (only because such issues are often emotive, controversial, sensationalised and potentially divisive) it has remained faithful to its mandate or has made great effort to take corrective action. The Church has always sought to enter the arena of current national affairs with caution, consideration and positive contribution towards the peaceful resolution of issues. Its diversity of creeds, denominations, tribes, races and constituencies demand a weighed and measured approach to national issues and as a result tended to be seen as laborious, tentative and diffuse.
In times past the Church’s nation building initiatives were pursued from three different platforms – the Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe (EFZ), the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops Conference (ZCBC) and the Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC). In recent times however, the common and continued suffering of the people of Zimbabwe, with no end in sight, has not left the Church untouched and now, in a common desire to bring an end to the daily suffering and pain of our people, the Church has come together to speak with one voice, one faith, one hope and one vision in order to bring about the Zimbabwe that we all want.
This document is an invitation to all Zimbabweans and all friends of Zimbabwe to dialogue with us so that we can together define a national vision of the Zimbabwe we want and agree on strategies on how to get there. The document holds no brief for any political party or pre-conceived political agenda. It reflects a vision of the three ecumenical bodies regarding the Zimbabwe that we want, distilled from over 10 years of armed struggle, 25years of independence, national aspirations, pain, suffering and disappointment. It is inspired by our faith in a sovereign God who in Jesus Christ demonstrated His solidarity with suffering humanity and his power to transform our thinking and relationships through the power of the Gospel.
The document is not an exhaustive prescription for all our ills as a nation, but is merely our humble contribution to the search for a solution to the challenges faced by our nation. It is a call to a kairos moment of reflection, repentance and a new vision of a Zimbabwe that will be shared by all, owned by all, and loved by all its citizens regardless of religion, tribe, race, gender, or political affiliation. For it is only when we unite in our diversity, that we can build a nation where peace and prosperity will flourish. It is a call to do collective reflection on our dire national situation and the toll that it is having on our economy, our quality of life, our families and the future of our children and of our nation. It is an attempt to inspire ourselves to draw lessons and nation building principles from our past mistakes so that we can envision a better and greater Zimbabwe – the Zimbabwe we all want.
Where there is no vision the people perish (Prov.11:14). Zimbabwe needs a new national vision to restore our self-confidence, dignity, and hope. A people without a vision is like a ship without a rudder. To this end we the Church leaders of Zimbabwe commit ourselves and the Churches that we lead to do all within our power and faith, to inspire, encourage and facilitate national dialogue, debate and national reconstruction across the broad spectrum of national opinion, constituencies and stakeholders.
May God Almighty bless the nation of Zimbabwe and grant it the faith, the vision and the courage to build a Zimbabwe that is free, tolerant, peaceful, prosperous and God fearing.

The first 15 years of an independent Zimbabwe showed so much promise and was highly esteemed on the continent and the world as the greatest promise of success yet in Sub-Sahara Africa. The economy as a whole made remarkable progress – in some respects, it was booming. Productivity in agriculture in both the rural and commercial farming sectors was so phenomenal that it earned the country recognition as the ‘bread basket’ of the region, thus demonstrating the potential that Zimbabwe could achieve if the colonial land inequities were to be addressed in a comprehensive, orderly, peaceful and sustained way. Communications systems which had lagged behind since the Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI) in 1965 were quickly modernized and brought the country into close contact with the rest of the world.
The expansion of education was unprecedented in all sub-Sahara Africa. The new Zimbabwean government facilitated for people who had lost educational opportunities to go back to school. Many primary and secondary schools were opened, especially in rural areas. Students, parents and teachers, in solidarity with one another, and working to achieve the common good, contributed to the building of the new schools. Universities and colleges were multiplied and expanded to allow for more Zimbabweans to be educated.
Expansion and quality of medical services was stupendous. Mission hospitals which provided the bulk of medical services, particularly in rural areas, received unprecedented support from the new government which was appreciative of the contribution of Churches and recognised their efficiency in running these institutions. Government not only paid salaries of all mission hospital staff but also provided funding for infrastructural developments in these institutions. The training for the medical and nursing staff was expanded to reduce the staff-patient ratio.
While the injustices of the colonial period and the inequities in the distribution of power and resources continued to exist, most Zimbabweans were confident that they would be overcome. The adoption of the policy of reconciliation at independence was a major step towards a rapprochement of the various components of the Zimbabwean society.
More successes were seen in the areas of social welfare and legislation to protect the workers and the marginalized. Special attention was paid to those who had been marginalized and impoverished by years of colonial rule. Zimbabwe had a good international image. The list of achievements could go on and on. These were the years of promise, the years of hope.
Despite the above gains, in 2005 Zimbabwe celebrated its Silver Jubilee in the grip of disappointment and depression. A number of things had either gone wrong or had not been put right within the first 25 years of our independence. Our nation is desperately in need of a physician, and that physician is none other than us the people of Zimbabwe. Treatment always begins with a correct diagnosis of a malady. We are not seeking to blame any one person, party or group. We are all as much a part of the problem, and must therefore all be a part of the solution. We must honestly face the sources of national disappointment so that we as a nation may have the determination to collectively seek appropriate remedies. We look back to the first 15 years of our independence with pride and thankfulness, but also admitting that it was not all rosy. But what went wrong until we got to where we are? The following are some of our weaknesses and failures which in our view have contributed significantly to our disappointment.
1.2.1 Lack of a Shared National Vision
Lack of a shared vision has been at the root of our political crises since 1890. During the colonial era Zimbabwe was monopolized by a few. Since then the country continued to be a fort, or laager protecting some against others – a minority against the majority or the majority against the minority. In this sense, Zimbabwe has never experienced the spirit of comprehensive social solidarity. As a nation we have never really experienced what it means to live in harmony and how to handle democratic processes in the political, social and economic spheres. The accommodation of different opinions and diversity of cultural, racial and ethnic backgrounds continues to elude us.
1980 was the year Zimbabwe was supposed to be shared by all. Yet we have continued to think and act in our old ways, jealously protecting our old narrow turfs, privileges and keeping old enemies. Some of us are so used to the old enemies that we do not want to give them up. We do not know what to do without them. Where these enemies have withdrawn or disappeared, we continue to reinvent them. We are in a spiritual crisis because we have attempted to think and live in our old ways in a new world. Zimbabwe must embrace all who desire and deserve to live in it.
We needed to cultivate non-partisan State structures which would be accessible to and protective of all Zimbabweans. We needed to develop a political culture of tolerance and respect of all. Yet by the end of 2002 Zimbabwe was already disproportionately dominated by party-politics and political violence. It is now deeply polarised on party-political lines. These tensions and polarizations threaten the existence of any sense of national common good and nationhood that might have been hoped for in the early years of political independence. National State structures, institutions, and processes have been politicised along party-political lines to the extent of undermining their public and national character.
In a democracy that takes seriously the concept of the common good, political parties cannot replace structures of the state. As Zimbabweans, we have failed to recognize the fundamental institutional priority of a non-partisan public state that recognizes and protects all Zimbabweans. The importance of maintaining the distinctions between party, government and state, their respective and balanced roles is now being demonstrated. Obfuscation of these distinctions in the imagination of our political leaders, our professionals, and in the imagination of the majority of the people of Zimbabwe has placed us into the lacuna we find ourselves in today. The idea of regarding the party as supreme to the government and the State has effectively helped to privatize the State and government, thereby making them virtually inaccessible to many Zimbabweans. This idea has helped encourage the tendency to narrow the meaning of our liberation struggle and to reduce it only to the armed struggle. Such a tendency has the unforunate consequence of failing to recognize various contributions made by many Zimbabweans to their own liberation.
1.2.2 Political intolerance
Political intolerance has unfortunately become a culture in Zimbabwe. This has mainly taken the form of intolerance of dissent and political plurality. The unwillingness to accommodate political differences is shown by the tendency to label anyone who criticises the dominant view as an enemy of the revolution. The trading of insults and hate speech has unfortunately been characteristic of inter- and intra-political parties.
Intolerance breeds hatred, and hatred breeds violence, and violence leads to destruction. This cycle became particularly visible before some elections in the past where intimidation of political opponents, violence, murder, extortion, and dispossession were commonly reported. The culture of violence, fear, suspicion and hate cannot build a nation.
1.2.3 Oppressive Laws
Some repressive pieces of legislation exist in our statute books, with the Public Order and Security Act (POSA) and the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) being of particular concern. Legislation that inhibits peaceful assembly and the free flow and exchange of ideas seriously impairs the efficacy of participatory democracy and the accountability of those who govern. Government has itself acknowledged that at least some of the provisions of POSA and AIPPA need to be amended for consistency with the spirit and ethos of human rights as contained in our constitution.
1.2.4 Failure to produce a home grown democratic constitution.
A people centred and people crafted constitution is the centrepiece of governance and development. The current Lancaster House constitution was not inspired by the collective consent and consensus of the people of Zimbabwe. The primary object of the Lancaster House conference was to facilitate and secure the irreversible transfer of political power from the colonial power and its surrogates to the indigenous majority. It was not concerned with the details of capturing and expressing the ideals and aspirations of the people of Zimbabwe. There is and there has remained a need to indigenize the constitutional order. The absence of a home-grown constitution remains a source of great dissatisfaction.
1.2.5 Economic mismanagement
Upon attainment of independence the challenge was how to open up the economy for the greater participation of the majority of the population while keeping its viability intact. We needed to find ways of dismantling the apartheid-type structures of the colonial economy, while keeping and enhancing further the economic successes and the culture of honest, hard, creative self-reliance and resilience that had so far been attained. Such delicate manoeuvring demanded a wealth of skills in economic planning and development.
Unfortunately, however, our economy suffered from a number of factors which included corruption, under-peforming para-statals which kept draining national resources, the inability to balance free market forces with a social welfare approach to economics and a host of other problems.
1.2.6 Corruption
Lack of accountability and corruption, have gradually become endemic in the Zimbabwean society. They mostly involve self-benefiting conduct by people or entities in positions of public trust such as police, corporates, media, civil servants and others. In January 2006 the Reserve Bank Governor called corruption a cancer that is fast taking root in our midst. He advised that this problem was overtaking inflation to become the nation’s number one enemy.
From 1987 Zimbabwe saw an exponential rise in cases of corruption, and by 2002 it was out of control. The rise in corruption was accompanied by the progressive disintegration of the national morale and a decline in our national economic well-being. The vast majority of corruption scandals involved high ranking politicians. The elites sought to gain and keep economic enrichment at the expense of the common good. Resources meant for the poor or for the common good have been converted to the use of individuals in positions of trust. These scandals have helped to derail our economic progress and produce social misery.
The press which for years crusaded against corruption has itself been sucked up in the same groove. Allegations have surfaced of bribes being demanded from business executives, politicians and musicians, in return for positive media coverage, or good ratings on the local music and business charts.
1.2.7 The Land Issue
The struggle for liberation was primarily about our land which had been siezed and allocated to colonial settlers. People were forcibly removed from their arable lands and resettled in crowded “reserves”. Since the whole struggle was about the recovery of our land it was clear from the beginning of our independence that the struggle was not over until the land has been returned to its rightful owners. Regretfully the Lancaster House Constitution did not sufficiently recognise this fact and the entrenched clauses in the constitution did not allow for a speedy response to the people’s cry for the land. The promised finances to speed up the process were not forth-coming as expected. The people who needed the land most became impatient and began to occupy some of the farms illegally, thus putting a great deal of pressure on government.
As Churches we have repeatedly expressed our full support for the redistribution of the land. While we understand the constraints on the part of government we believe the land redistribution should have been done much earlier in a systematic manner. Regretfully, the sudden, rushed and unplanned comprehensive seizure and redistribution politicised the land question and rendered the process most controversial and impacted negatively on the country.
By the year 2000 the national economy was already declining and the morale among the people was already low. In redistributing the land the government was at last doing the right thing which was long overdue, but regretfully it was done the wrong way, at a wrong time, and for the wrong reasons. It is therefore critical that corrective measures be taken immediately to inspire confidence, both nationally and internationally, and enable Zimbabwe to flourish once again. The economy of Zimbabwe and the wellbeing of its people are inseparably tied to the land. We will never be able to deliver the Zimbabwe we want unless the land issue is immediately laid to rest.
1.2.8 Loss of Friends and our Isolation
During the years of our struggle for liberation against an oppressive colonial regime our political as well as our military structures enjoyed a great deal of encouragement and support from many groups, governments, as well as Christian organisations throughout the world. Our neighbours sacrificed the lives of their citizens for the liberation of Zimbabwe. We cultivated many friends throughout the world who celebrated our successes and indeed walked with us in the first years of our independence. These many friends of Zimbabwe today are disillusioned and pained by what they see happening in Zimbabwe. We have not been willing to take their advice regarding some of our approaches to issues that have resulted in so much conflict and pain among our people.
Regretfully, we suddenly perceived those of our friends who saw things differently from us to be our enemies as we began to pursue agendas that would bring personal benefit at the expense of the common good. We did not want to take advice from friends and those who genuinely cared about us. When friends told us the truth about our situation or told us what we did not want to hear they immediately became enemies and allies of our former colonial power. The result is that we became isolated and some nations began to apply targeted sanctions against some of our leadership as a way to influence changes in some of our policies. We all agree that Zimbabwe is a sovereign state and as Zimbabweans we must defend our sovereignty at all costs. But in a world that has become a global village it is no longer possible for any nation to exist in isolation. Doing otherwise can only inflict unnecessary pain and suffering on the people.
1.2.9 Inability of the Churches to Speak with One Voice on National Issues
The question to be raised is: How could the situation degenerate to this extent as described above when more than 80% of the population is Christian, including many of those in political leadership positions? What happened to our Christian values of love, peace, justice, forgiveness, honesty, truthfulness? Where was the voice of the Church which is called upon to be the conscience of the nation? Clearly we did not do enough as Churches to defend these values and to raise an alarm at the appropriate time. We too have often tended to look inward rather than outward and also ignore the wisdom from our Christian sisters and brothers outside Zimbabwe. Maybe we used tinted same glasses used by secular authority to evaluate the advice given to us by other members of the body of Christ outside Zimbabwe. As Churches we confess we have failed the nation because we have not been able to speak with one voice. We have often not been the salt and the light that the Gospel calls us to be. We therefore confess our failure and ask for God’s forgiveness.
The Church entered the dispensation of the new Zimbabwe with a largely other worldly detachment from things social and political except for the Roman Catholic CCJP and the ZCC, who even amid objections from some of their members, thought through the relevance of the Gospel values to the political and economic realities of the nation. Issues of democracy, human rights and development were, by and large, viewed as out of the jurisdiction of Church activity. Some Church members fell into the pit of political appeasement at the expense of maintaining the integrity of the Church.
This traditional aloofness and metaphysical disengagement have made the Church an officious bystander caught in between the anguish of its constituents and the spiritual interpretation of its mandate. Divisions within the Church based on differences of political affiliation and/or sympathies have hindered the Church from providing a more coherent and unified voice of leadership to the nation. This division has been further exploited by some political leaders wanting to use the Church for their own purposes. The sum total of these factors has been a Church leadership that has done well in trying to mitigate the impact of the current hardships, but has not adequately responded to the causes of the suffering of its constituency and the nation as a whole. Church leaders have not always provided exemplary leadership.
Rather than being salt and light to the nation some of the church leaders have been accomplices in some of the evils that have brought our nation to this condition. Some have been sentenced to jail terms for rape and financial impropriety. This has cast some doubts on the credibility of the moral voice of the Church.
The Church in Zimbabwe is now, since about 2000, only beginning to wake up to its role in the social, political and economic affairs of Zimbabwe in a more comprehensive way. As opposed to non-engagement some Christians have chosen the path of aggressive engagement or confrontation with the government. The three umbrella bodies have, however, chosen the path of constructive engagement. In the short term, this involves engaging the government with the purpose of helping to end the present crisis and quickly returning the nation to some normalcy. In the long term, we intend to engage the nation as a whole in the development of guiding national vision and values as stipulated in this document.

The Church is a divine institution in the world comprising men and women called to serve God and humanity through the preaching of a liberating Gospel and service to alleviate human suffering in this world. We have heard it repeatedly stated within the context of our situation in Zimbabwe that the Church should stay out of politics. Without being defensive we need to explain why we as a Church are so concerned and why we have taken the course of contructive engagement described above. The question is: Are we now meddling in a sphere that does not properly belong to the Church? The Church must be concerned when the material and political conditions impinge on the spiritual wellbeing of people.
•The nature of the Gospel demands that we be involved in the transformation of the social, economic and political systems or environment within which God’s people live. God affirms our humanity by bringing us salvation through Jesus Christ – the Second member of the Godhead in human form. God is therefore involved in every activity where human beings are involved. This is what the incarnation means. But God’s incarnation did not end with Christ’s ascendance to heaven. It continued with the Church as the sign of God on earth. While the Church has its human nature, it also has its divine mandate. The Church as ‘the people of God’ incarnates the divine presence in the world. It continues the work started by Christ of transforming the world for the better, improving people’s relationships with each other, challenging corrupt and unjust people and structures, supporting the poor and marginalized and healing the sick and troubled. Like Christ, the Church announces the Good News of salvation and denounces injustice•The God that we have come to know in Jesus Christ is a God of love, justice, peace, and reconciliation and He has made us ambassadors of these divine values. Our task is to manifest God’s presence and activity in all spheres of life. Politics and economics are serious activities which affect people’s lives and can therefore not be left to secular authority alone. We are therefore mandated by the nature of the Gospel to address all the issues that hinder the fulfilment of our hopes as proclaimed by God through Jesus Christ: “I came so that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10).
•The Church’s concern with issues of good governance, justice and peace, is demonstration of God’s concern for humanity. For God created human beings not in order to suffer, but to have life and have it abundantly (John 10:10). To have abundant life is to grow and be fulfilled spiritually, physically, emotionally, intellectually, socially and culturally. Christ’s approach to life is holistic and as Christ’s disciples we have no option but to be holistic in our proclamation of the Gospel. Hence proclamation, worship, and service are integral to the life and mission of the Church. God wants us to be free and happy. This is part of the implication of Christ’s Good News of salvation.
The Church has a long history of dealing with social needs of the people of Zimbabwe and the world over. It has a proven record, which dates as far back as 2 000 years, of caring and supporting those that are in need. It has handled the challenges of refugees, war victims, poverty, education, health and other social issues. Informed by the Gospel and guided by the Holy Spirit, the Church has learnt to respond to the cry of the poor, the cry of the widow and the cry of the orphan. It has developed the tradition of becoming the true neighbour to those who fall among the robbers of this world. It does so by responding to emergencies and by working to transform social realities with the power of the Gospel. It is therefore natural for the Church to engage in public debates and show concern over how the world is organized, ruled, and developed. It legitimately engages the way wealth is owned, controlled and distributed.
In Zimbabwe, in particular, the Church has always been engaged in nation-building through the schools, hospitals, relief and development programs established throughout the country. In many ways the Church was also heavily involved in securing the liberation of Zimbabwe from the yoke of colonialism.
Where the Gospel of Christ has become rooted in the lives and culture of the people it can only lead to social transformation. Consequently, the Church’s activities include a commitment to a social teaching ministry where it deals with general themes of public policy, the duties of citizenship and the relationship of personal and public virtue. At this level, however, the Church carries out its teaching ministry through a non-partisan and objective exposition of the biblical and ecclesiastical moral principles in a general way to enable its members to make informed choices on policies that directly affect their lives. There are times, however, when the Church needs to apply those principles in concrete policy debates or to take a clear position where there is clear violation of those moral principles, thus actively supporting specific policies and opposing others. A good example of this is the ZCBC pastoral letter on the 2005 Parliamentary elections and the joint pastoral letter of the ZCBC, ZCC, EFZ and HOCD of April 2005, A Call to Conscience, Zimbabwe Silver Jubilee 1980-2005. Such a prophetic-witness approach can mean actively advocating the dismantling of the structures that promote corruption and any other immoral behaviour that negates the values of love, justice, peace and reconciliation that are central to the Gospel of Christ.
As a religious organisation the Church embraces the vast majority of the people of Zimbabwe. It is closest to the people. They trust their religious leadership and we can claim to know their desires and aspirations better than any other organisation. Together we know every home and every family, including the non-Christians. We can therefore be their voice, and perhaps, the only credible voice they have.
We are members of a universal institution in which all its members are bound together in a family relationship through faith in Jesus Christ. When one member of the family suffers we all suffer (1 Cor.12, 26). During our struggle for liberation the entire Christian family throughout the world was in solidarity with us, either individually or through the World Council of Churches and other bodies. When God’s people anywhere are groaning or are suffering, all the people of God feel the pain and hear the groans. This means that the Church in Zimbabwe has the potential to unleash global support and solidarity for a holistic reconstruction of Zimbabwe. The global family of Christians is feeling the pain with us; it wants to walk with us and to listen to our story just as Jesus walked with the two disciples on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24, 13-35).
We believe that the solution to our current difficulties in Zimbabwe lies with the people of Zimbabwe. It has to be home grown. Our sisters and brothers throughout the world want to walk with us. We need to show them where we want to go and advise them on how together we can walk that journey. The Church in Zimbabwe, therefore, has the potential to assist with the building of bridges within Zimbabwe and help our nation to once again connect with the rest of the world. The Church can also help explain our situation or play an advocacy role outside Zimbabwe. We have that potential and we can make a positive contribution in this regard.
In our message of love, forgiveness, peace, justice and reconciliation we have all that that is needed for the healing of the nation. We have God’s promise: “If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and forgive their sin and heal their land” (2 Chron. 7:14).
We want to take seriously our task as the Church in Zimbabwe to work for the reconciliation of the people of Zimbabwe and to bring about national unity. Through this document we seek to make a positive contribution towards a national vision for the reconstruction of our nation. Thus the Church, as God’s divine incarnation, has a moral duty to contribute to the creation of social, economic, political and cultural institutions, systems, structures, processes and personalities that facilitate the integral growth and fulfilment of every human person. Our hope is that through this document the people of Zimbabwe can reach a consensus regarding the Zimbabwe We Want and how to get there.

We are convinced beyond any reasonable doubt that as a way forward Zimbabwe needs to clearly redefine a vision of the Zimbabwe we want and the core values upon which to build the nation. That vision and those values need to be owned by all and together we need to come up with strategies as to how this can happen. This section of the document is our humble contribution to the redefinition of a vision for the nation of Zimbabwe and its underlying values.
Our vision is that of a sovereign and democratic nation characterized by good governance as reflected in all its structures and operations at all levels and in all our institutions; a nation united in its diversity, free, tolerant, peaceful, and prosperous; a nation that respects the rights of all its citizens regardless of creed, gender, age, race and ethnicity as defined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and with a leadership that puts the interests of the people of Zimbabwe above all personal gains; and above all a nation that is God- fearing.
The vision of the nation of Zimbabwe articulated above must be underpinned by certain values if it is to be a reality. A nation needs shared values in order to avoid destroying itself. It is the absence of shared core-values that is at the heart of the crisis we are witnessing in Zimbabwe today. We need to redefine our national values if we are to get to the Zimbabwe we want.
Values are fundamental convictions and standards by which particular actions are judged as good or desirable and which therefore act as general guides to behaviour. Values help us to decide how we as Zimbabweans should live and what we should treasure. Our values must include the following:
3.2.1 Spirituality and Morality
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second one is like it: love your neighbour as yourself. All the law and the Prophets hang on these two commands” (Mt 22:37-40). These words by Jesus form the core of spirituality and morality that will assist us to build the Zimbabwe we all want.
There is a very real danger of secularism eroding our spirituality and our morality. If we define our personhood apart from the biblical concept that we are created in the image of God, we inevitably devalue one another leading to violence, permissive sex or political corruption. Morality must be built on spirituality.
Living moral lives includes preserving our bodies from sexual sins. Paul writes: “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honour God with your body. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). If we were to heed this command much of the HIV/AIDS scourge that is devastating a significant part of our economy and contributing to our economic problems would be solved.
However, morality must not be limited to sexual matters. It includes honesty and sincerity in all our dealings. Honesty is held as a very important value throughout the Bible, and deception is prohibited. “Speak the truth to one another, and render true and sound judgement in our courts; do not plot evil against your neighbour, and do not swear falsely. I hate all this, declares the Lord” (Zech 8:16-17). Deception can be manifested through false statements, half-truths or innuendo. It is all too common in advertising, business dealings, politics and everyday life. This we must strongly resist. Sincerity goes along with honesty. It means practising what we preach; saying what we mean and meaning what we say. The opposite of this is hypocrisy, which Jesus could not stand (e.g. Mt 23, 1-11).
“Integrity makes a nation great, but sin is a disgrace to any people” (Prov 14:34). We cannot expect God to bless our nation, and individuals in it, unless integrity becomes a cherished core-value in our nation. The role of the Church, and other religious groups, in shaping the spiritual and moral fibre of the nation should continue to be encouraged in Zimbabwe.
3.2.2 Unity-in-diversity
The principle of unity-in-diversity is at the core of our definition of a nation. A nation is the aggregation of individuals, families, communities and ethnicities bound together by a combination of history, birth, geography and a common system of governance. In general a nation cannot be an individual or a select group of individuals and communities that define history, birth-right, geographic space and political power to the exclusion of a significant portion of individuals, families, communities and ethnicities.
The Biblical analogy of the tribes of Israel, who were originally the children of Jacob, gives us an idea of the divine gravitation from singularity to diversity. This gravitation towards diversity is exemplified right through the Bible: from Adam, Noah, Jacob, the twelve disciples, the diversity of the four gospels, the unity in diversity of the early Jerusalem Church and the grand finale of the multitudinous throng of thousands upon thousands from every tongue and tribe before the throne of God (Revelation 7). Modern day Christianity is a plethora of diversity of doctrine, creed, belief and practice but all co-existing in tolerance and non-violence.
By its definition, therefore, a nation is a composite co-existence of diversity of families, tribes, ethnicities and opinions. The individuality and diversities of persons and communities must be recognized, protected, regulated, allowed expression and representation, harmonised and balanced for the greater good and progress of the nation. Any nation that does not acknowledge, affirm and protect the diversity of individual and collective rights and expressions of those rights will produce a trail of division, conflict, disintegration and retrogression. Many a country has been ravaged by incessant civil war and blood-shed that arose from a sense of exclusion by a radicalised minority section of the population.
Zimbabwe enjoys considerable variety among its people evidenced by racial, cultural and political diversities. These diversities can be mutually enriching provided we adopt the stance of accepting one another and tolerating those differences that may not be to our liking, such as political differences. Intolerance has made the Zimbabwean society highly polarized. This has in turn bred a culture of violence in the home and different spheres of the public life. This we must detest and resist as we work together towards the Zimbabwe we want. It is normal that members of the same family will have different opinions on all aspects of life. Yet they must live together harmoniously and respect each other. This is possible where they exercise mutual tolerance.
Despite our diversities we must cherish peace and harmony. Such peace and harmony does not merely mean the absence of war and conflict. Peace in a community must not be confused with either stability or complacency. At the time of Christ there was a peace of sorts. It was known as the Pax Romana – the Roman peace – and was a ‘peace’ established and maintained by force. But this is not peace. To believe that peace can be established by force is an illusion, a scandal. Stability is not peace. Nor is peace complacency and it is a mistake for anyone to claim that peace exists where there is injustice. True peace requires justice and so no Christian can live complacently with injustice. There is a significant truth in the statement ‘if you want peace then work for justice’.
3.2.3 Respect for Human Life and Dignity
Since human beings are created in God’s image, human life is sacrosanct. Everything must be done to safeguard basic rights of every member of our society in accordance with the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) and the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights (1981) to both of which Zimbabwe is a signatory. It was largely to secure independence and freedom that the war of liberation was fought. Therefore, we ought to respect all human life. Deliberate and avoidable taking of human life should be regarded as immoral and against the will of God. In the Zimbabwe that we want, we as human beings, and our social, political, economic, cultural and military institutions, systems and processes should always respect human life.
3.2.4 Respect for Democratic Freedoms
There are certain freedoms that are universally recognised as inherent in any democratic society. They provide a conducive environment for good governance and democratic participation and ensure that the basic human rights are adhered to. Our struggle for liberation was for freedom and the Zimbabwe we want must allow every member of our society to enjoy those freedoms that contribute towards nation building. We therefore need to safeguard those rights, particularly the following:
•Freedom of association: Article 20 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights provides for everyone to have the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association and that no one may be compelled to belong to an association. The fact that the law allows citizens to join any party of their choice is to be applauded. All segments of society must however respect the practical outworking of this freedom as enshrined in the law. Nobody should in any way be victimized by reason of their party belonging by being denied developmental or relief assistance, denied a job or promotion or by having his/her freedom of movement restricted. This freedom of association should also find expression in religious freedom.
•Freedom of speech and expression: Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human rights says: “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers”. This freedom – and its extension, freedom of the press – is so essential that its absence jeopardizes other freedoms and undermines the whole democratic process. It is essential for self-actualization, for assisting in the search for truth, and in promoting democracy by influencing government’s choice of policies. Therefore its restriction must only be allowed in very limited circumstances, such as the outlawing of hate-speech and the promotion of terrorism. Restrictions to free speech should be the exception and free expression the rule. It is in the light of these considerations that existing and proposed legislation such as POSA and AIPPA should be re-examined and either abolished or amended.
3.2.5 Respect for Other Persons
Every human being – regardless of race, tribe, gender, age, national origin, religion, economic status, intelligence, achievement or any other distinguishing characteristics is created in the image of God, and therefore is valuable and worthy of respect as a member of the human family.
To respect others is to take seriously and value what they think, their goals and desires in life, and to support them in overcoming their weaknesses, disabilities and inabilities. It is to create appropriate environments which allow them to grow naturally in their physical, spiritual, intellectual, social and cultural aspects. Thus the provision of educational, health, recreational facilities, information, food, shelter, security, and the recognition of freedom of thought, freedom of association, and freedom of religion are all ways of treating human persons with the respect they deserve.
Respect for others presupposes the need for humility. Humility involves being courteous and respectful of others. It is the opposite of aggressiveness, arrogance, boastfulness, and vanity. Acting with humility does not in any way deny our own self worth. Rather, it affirms the inherent worth of all persons.
3.2.6 Democracy and Good Governance
The Zimbabwe we want must be characterized by democracy and democratic participation, built on the premise that all its citizens, in their diversity and divergence with respect to the colour of their skins, ethnic backgrounds, social or economic status, gender, religious or political persuasions, are equal and must be given equal opportunity to participate in the definition of our collective destiny. Our diversity is a source of enrichment to the nation as it provides opportunity for us to look at issues from different perspectives in the light of our different experiences.
In a democratic system every citizen has a right to contribute to a shared and common destiny and must therefore be heard and protected as they exercise their democratic rights. It is through this dialogue of diversity that we construct a future where each one of us becomes a significant benefactor and beneficiary. The essence of democracy is the government by the highest consensus and the affirmation, recognition and engagement of all, including minority groups, marginal sectors of our stakeholder communities, informal sector players, children, women, the poor, the disabled, the senior citizens, and the alien.
The Zimbabwe we want recognizes and affirms a collective, comprehensive and inclusive citizenship and national stakeholder base that does not exclude, repress or vilify any section of the community on account of gender, class, ethnicity, place of origin or political affiliation. Our view of democracy therefore seeks to include rather than exclude.
This requires the deliberate choice by leaders of different social, economic, political and religious persuasions to initiate and sustain a process of national reconciliation, reconstruction, peace building and nation building.
3.2.7 Participation and Subsidiarity
People have a right and a duty to participate in society in order to search, in collaboration with others, for the common good and well-being of everyone especially the poor and marginalized.
People grow physically, intellectually, socially and economically by participating in the activities of their communities and societies. To be shut out from participating is to be denied opportunities for growth and opportunities for contributing to the growth of others. As Martin Luther King (JR) said, “When an individual is no longer a true participant, when he no longer feels a sense of responsibility to his society, the content of democracy is emptied”.
•Particular attention must therefore be paid to those segments of our society whose participation at various levels of society has been restricted. There is need for mainstreaming gender and the needs of disadvantaged groups such as children, youths, people with disabilities, minority groups and others in all policy programmes.
Participation also assumes the principle of subsidiarity. This principle is meant to guide the complex social relationships by defining the responsibilities and limits of government, the essential roles of voluntary associations, civil society, families and individuals. It says it is wrong for higher levels of social organization or government to do for individuals and groups what they can do efficiently and effectively by their own initiative and hard work. Thus government should not do for people what they can do for themselves. This means that individuals and groups of individuals who are close to social issues should be allowed to deal with them before higher institutions and government itself take them over. This also insures that decisions are made as close as possible to their point of implementation. That is the kind of Zimbabwe we want.
3.2.8 Sovereignty
The Zimbabwe that we want is a sovereign state – autonomous, equal to other states and self-governing. Our sovereignty, however, needs to be balanced against a recognition of inter-dependence in the global family of nations. This implies mutual accountability as each nation seeks to uphold commonly agreed standards of governance and human rights. International law and the treaties that bind nations together act as a check on our sovereignty.
3.2.9 Patriotism and Loyalty
“Why should my face not look sad when the city where my fathers are buried lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire?” (Nehemiah 2:3). These are the words of a patriotic man called Nehemiah. Although he held a very good job in the office of the Persian Emperor, it was the welfare of his own country that became his driving force. He was like other exiled Jews who sat down and wept by the rivers of Babylon when they remembered Zion (Ps 137:1)
Patriotism is a love of one’s country and allegiance to its state institutions. This necessitates that we cultivate a sense of belonging which should override sectional, tribal, ethnic and other loyalties.
Some Zimbabweans have unfortunately become very unpatriotic in their thinking, words and behaviour. They refuse to see any good in their nation, or to work for the welfare of that nation. This may be in part because we have not taken the development of national values seriously.
In order to develop patriotism certain features of the nation must be regarded as a common heritage of all Zimbabweans. These must include our history, our heroes, the national constitution, flag, national anthem, defence forces, the civil service, national holidays etc. None of these must be seen as the preserve of one party or one sectional interest. A national approach to those institutions and national events would unite us as a nation in the Zimbabwe that belongs to all of us.
Patriotism does not mean that we develop uniformity in our thinking, culture or political party. Citizens should be able to constructively criticize their government without fearing that they will be accused of being unpatriotic. That is the Zimbabwe we want.
3.2.10 Gender Equity
By gender we mean “the expectations and norms within a society with regard to appropriate male and female behaviour and roles, which attribute to men and women different access to status and power, including resources and decision-making power”. Women experience systematic oppression. They are excluded, marginalised, and rendered invisible in language and public life. They are stereotyped as mindless, emotional and weak; and that stereotyping is then used to legitimize their subordination to men. UN statistics show that while forming one-half of the world’s population, women do three-fourths of the world’s work, receive one-tenth of the world’s salary, and own one-hundredth of the world’s land. Over three-fourths of starving people are women and their dependent children. Furthermore women are bodily and sexually exploited, used, battered, and raped. Thus sexism both oppresses and marginalizes women – hence negatively impacting on their sense of identity.
Furthermore, this power disparity between men and women makes the fight against HIV and AIDS very difficult. Women generally have fewer possibilities than their male partners to determine whether, and under what conditions sexual intercourse will occur. The fact that men are more likely than women to have multiple sexual partners while many women are not in a position to insist on safer sex makes women more vulnerable to the HIV infection.
The domestication and subservience of women in our society is not imposed by biological or other natural necessity. Above all, the social, economic and religious marginalization of women is not prescribed by God. We acknowledge that women and men are of equal value before God, both created in the image of the one God (Genesis 1:26). Therefore we stand by the principles of inclusiveness and interdependence between men and women. All limitations to the fullness of life envisaged in Christ must be completely uprooted, including homosexuality and lesbianism as stated in Leviticus 18, 22-25. We advocate gender equity, by which we mean that women must fully participate in decisions and operations that affect the Church, politics, economics and society as a whole. We assert that social roles of men and women can be reconstructed and transformed by society; since they are culturally constructed they can also be socially deconstructed.
3.2.11 Social Solidarity and the Promotion of the Family
Human beings are social creatures by nature. They grow in communities. Human dignity can be recognized, developed and protected only in community with others. Since we are all created in God’s image, each person is brother or sister to every other and can develop as a healthy human person only in a community of relationships rooted in love and justice.
We all belong to one human family. As such, we have mutual obligations to promote the rights and development of all people across communities, nations and the world. To be in solidarity with others is to recognize that all other humans have the same humanity as us. They have their needs, desires, life plans and goals just like we do. Thus to be in solidarity with others is to be moved by other people’s suffering and to be uplifted by their happiness. To be unmoved by other people’s suffering is to show moral and spiritual underdevelopment.
Human beings achieve their fulfilment in solidarity with others – in families, communities, and other social institutions that foster growth, protect dignity and promote the common good.
In the Parable of the Good Samaritan (Lk 10:25-28), Jesus made the point that we should extend our Christian love to all people, regardless of race, religion, nationality or any other artificial distinction. We must practise that love even toward our enemies!
The first and most basic community for every person is the immediate family. Family stability must therefore always be protected and never be undermined. This calls for:
•The protection and support of marriages.
•Promotion of family life through pensions, inheritance laws and policies that enhance family togetherness.
•Support for child headed households.
3.2.12 Stewardship of Creation
We acknowledge that God created the universe and made humankind the stewards of that part of it called the earth and its atmosphere. As stewards

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