The Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC) has castigated ecclesiastical groupings that are brainwashing their congregants into endorsing certain political candidates.
Speaking on the side-lines of a solidarity visit dinner on Thursday, to welcome delegates from the World Council of Churches (WCC), ZCC general secretary, Kenneth Mtata warned churches against publicly praising or denouncing political parties.
“When we start to credit or discredit certain political parties, we are getting out of bounds because that is not our business. Our business is the content, not necessarily the political parties,” he said.
“The church is not there to sit or replace a government, it’s there to engage it for the betterment of the majority of the people. The responsibility of the church is not to say who should govern, but rather what governing should be like.”
Mtata dismissed some religious groupings that manipulate scriptures for the endorsement of certain political characters.
“The church, when it draws from the scriptures, deals with questions of justice and peace, not exactly who should be governing. The business of the church is to ensure that, as we are governed, we are governed in peace with a government that promotes justice and fights corruption,” the cleric said.
Mtata emphasised the need for every Christian to participate in the upcoming 2018 elections. He, however, denounced any future violence, saying it was the church’s business to direct its energy towards promoting peace.
Visiting WCC general secretary, Olav Fykse Tveit encouraged Zimbabwean churches to shun polarisation and discrimination at all levels.
“As the church, you are on a journey with people, who are struggling for justice and peace, therefore, you must not ignore one another’s challenges and responsibilities. Polarisation, discrimination and division is not the way of the Church,” he said.
Religion remains a highly contested political terrain, which has seen political parties sometimes taking centre-stage at church gatherings and even chanting political slogans with reports pointing at Zanu-PF as the main culprit.