Zimbabwe church leaders call for suspension of elections for seven years

  1. The idea of the SABBATH is a deep theological theme in the Old and New Testaments of the Bible and in Church tradition. It is based on God’s command to his people to set aside the seventh day for a rest. Seven years were also considered as SABBATH years.

Seven seven-year sabbaths or forty-nine years constituted what was called the Jubilee season. In this Jubilee season, the land would be left fallow so that it could recover its nutrients. Debts would be forgiven. New relationships would be built and God would bless his people.

Since its independence in 1980, Zimbabwe reaches her Jubilee year in 2029. The nation could use the coming period to usher in a true Jubilee for the nation by removing all political contestation from the land and focus the period on healing past wounds, recover the economy, and build a new political culture of cooperation focused on nation-building.

  1. The current deteriorating economic crisis which is characterized by systemic corruption, shortages of fuel, prices going out of control and collapse of the health sector needs to be built from the ground with everyone’s support.

As we are meeting, doctors are on strike and other workers such as teachers are threatening the same as they find it difficult to make ends meet with their current remunerations.

According to the ZimVAC figures for 2019, an estimated 7.7 million Zimbabweans are in need of food assistance due to drought. Malnutrition and the interruption of basic services such as health and education may have both immediate and long-term negative impact.

When this is combined with high levels of unemployment, stagnant salaries and the loss of buying power of salaries for those who are still employed, one can only conclude that Zimbabwe needs an urgent and holistic solution in which the grassroots, organized society and political and policy sectors should contribute to and own.

  1. The current political paralysis and logjam characterized by the failure of the ruling party and the main opposition party to find a workable collaborative model is an issue of great concern.

The fact that the two main political parties remain stuck in the post-election mode and will soon embark on a new election mode means that Zimbabwe is unlikely to realize any meaningful engagement between these parties towards a shared constitutional alignment agenda.

Without a shared approach to national processes, the efforts by one are undermined by the other, while any positive contribution towards the national good by each is read only within a party-political perspective.

We foresee that, whichever political party wins an election, the paralysis will remain, if the opposing parties do not learn how to collaborate. It is the people who will continue to suffer if as a nation we fail to establish some unity in diversity.

  1. Zimbabwe has not yet undergone healing from the various periods of national hurt. While we recognize the efforts of the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission, the failure of the nation to fully bring healing and mutually acceptable closure to the long past, immediate past and recent past means that hatred fossilizes and the propensity for revenge grows.

Casual references to ethnicity as the organizing principle for political mobilization threatens national stability in ways many may not be aware of.

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.


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