Accessibility links

Southern African Religious Leaders Urge Zimbabwe Church Unity


Southern African church leaders have urged two Zimbabwe church organizations to work together more cooperatively, tacitly chiding them for political differences.

Christian Alliance spokesman Jonathan Gokovah and Churches in Zimbabwe official Bishop Ambrose Moyo have pledged to press the issue with their members.

Regional church groups including the Botswana Council of Churches, the All-African Council of Churches, the South African Council of Churches, and the South African Catholic Bishops Conference, among others, met in Johannesburg on the weekend to discuss how churches can help to resolve the Zimbabwean crisis.

Zimbabwean church groups have launched separate - and to some extent politically contrary - initiatives aimed at speeding resolution of the Zimbabwean crisis.

Churches In Zimbabwe, comprising more moderate clergy, seeks dialogue with the government. Uniting the Zimbabwe Catholics Bishops Conference, the Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe Council of Churches, it recently put forth a "national vision" paper titled "The Zimbabwe We Want," which it presented first to President Robert Mugabe and then to an overtly skeptical opposition.

At odds with this conciliatory approach is the Christian Alliance, a church group that came together in 2005 to provide humanitarian aid to those displaced by Harare's forced eviction and demolition campaign known as Operation Murambatsvina. The Christian Alliance, closely linked with opposition political parties and civic groups, regards the government - and Mr. Mugabe - as the heart of the problem.

The Christian Alliance has launched an initiative called the Save Zimbabwe Campaign under which political parties, trade unionists and NGOs have organized protests.

Reverend Nicholas Mukaronda, a coordinator of the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, told reporter Patience Rusere that churches must combine their resources to help.

More reports from VOA's Studio Seven For Zimbabwe...

XS
SM
MD
LG