Time the church stood up and be counted


Pastor Evan Mawarire has dared tread where angels fear, by speaking about his frustrations on how he feels he has been short-changed and the failure by this government to deliver on its election promises.

NewsDay Comment


Mawarire bravely launched his #ThisFlag campaign, which has garnered quite significant support, with thousands of Zimbabweans beginning to speak out.

In an impassioned sermon, Bishop Tudor Bismark also reflected the feelings of many when he said he was tired and frustrated by the apparent haphazardness of policies and the lack of strategy to pull Zimbabwe out of the current mess it finds itself in.

These two reflect a new breed of church leaders, who are willing to speak out about what they feel is wrong and have dared to speak out to the political order.

A sad characteristic of the church in Zimbabwe is that, in most cases, they have chosen to turn the other cheek rather than confront the problems their flock face on a daily basis.

By its silence, the church, in its plurality, has been complicit in the suffering of Zimbabweans and the time has come that it stands up and be counted.

This is not to say the church should be political, but rather they should speak out against the abuses Zimbabweans suffer.

It would not be too much to ask the church to also question what happened the jobs pledge made by Zanu PF in its election campaign and the economic blueprint, ZimAsset, speak out against corruption and demand accountability.

Zimbabweans across the divide, and in particular in the church, are suffering at the hands of the seemingly uncaring government and it is up to preachers to speak on behalf of their flock, yet maintaining their apolitical stance.

As Bismark aptly quotes George Orwell’s seminal writing Animal Farm, what our leaders “fought against is what they are now imposing on the people”, and it is the duty of church leaders to speak out against such betrayal.

A good example is the Catholic Church, which, in spite of hostility, was still able to collect information on the Gukurahundi massacres and so far, their report is the most authentic on the killings.

The church has a duty to speak out against unjust governments and repression, as their congregants are not immune to government excesses.

The voice of the churches has so far been missing in the Zimbabwean discourse, with most church leaders skirting the very issues that bother their flock so they can be considered politically correct.

Whatever denomination or party one belongs to, no Zimbabwean has been left untouched by the state of the economy and everyone has a duty to speak out. Silence at this point in our history is the greatest betrayal.

Zimbabweans deserve better and must demand just that.