THE Fellowship of Christian Councils in Southern Africa says the church should speak out on matters relating to the conduct of elections in Zimbabwe.
REPORT BY SENIOR REPORTER
In a statement issued yesterday, the ecumenical delegation headed by Reverend Mmachakga Mpho Moruakgomo from Botswana called on the church to pray for peace ahead of the crucial election.
“We would like to see a free and fair election which is held according to the laws of the country, reflects the will of the people of Zimbabwe and meets international standards for democratic elections,” the statement reads in part. “We urge the church to speak out clearly on all issues that relate to the conduct of free and fair elections and the wellbeing of the country.”
The 12-member delegation, which was invited by the Zimbabwe Council of Churches and was in the country from July 7 to 10, said it was aware that there had been challenges in the run up to the elections.
“There remain justifiable concerns about the threat of violence and the resurgence of political violence which has marred previous elections and which could threaten national peace and security.
Civic society players and church leaders we met during the course of our visit spoke of the need for political commitment to the political parties’ code of conduct,” said the delegation.
The clergy visited places in Harare, Chinhoyi, Bindura, Masvingo, Mutare, Gweru, and Bulawayo and met with church leaders, government officials and other stakeholders. The delegation expressed concern over the challenges “aliens” faced in trying to obtain identity documents and the long distances people had to travel to registration centres in rural areas which they said had a high risk of disenfranchising voters.