Statement on Zimbabwe from the UCCSA
40th UCCSA Assembly
- We, the United Congregational Church of Southern Africa, meeting at our 40th Assembly at the Njube UCCSA Church from the 26th of August to the 3rd of September 2019, prayerfully engaged and reflected on several matters of the life, word and witness of the Church. Among others, the concern for the suffering citizens of Zimbabwe, in and outside the country, and the continued downward trend of its economy stood out during the Assembly. We recall the January 2019 protests and the response of the state, and when the Assembly convened, it learnt about the incarceration of a traditional leader and civic society leaders, such incidences cast doubt on human security and the protection of human rights in the country.
- We are aware that some Zimbabweans experienced genocide in the 1980’s and that the fallout, insecurity and trauma has not been addressed to this day although we hear of efforts which also face some credibility questions. Citizens are still crying in search of closure of these septic wounds. We remind the state that these cries are cries of God’s people.
- We reflected on the socio-political and economic developments in Zimbabwe which contributes greatly to the migration of citizens to neighbouring countries especially South Africa. Sadly, they have experienced serious afrophobic/ xenophobic attacks in South Africa. Some Zimbabweans are victims in their own country and also outside. These developments have incited protests in the country. We have witnessed the heavy handedness of the state in response to the protests. We are saddened by such response by the state, instead of protecting its citizens, it repeats what it did in the 1980’s, killing its own citizens it is supposed to protect.
- Our concern, as the Church in the SADC region, is that the Zimbabwean challenges are affecting the neighbouring countries and may destabilize the region. It is disappointing to see our fellow black people attack their own black brothers and sisters. As the body of Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour, we therefore:
- Call upon the state to allow citizens to exercise their basic fundamental human rights and freedoms, including the right to free association and freedom of speech.
- We call upon the state to exercise restraints in dealing with dissenting voices, protest and criticism from its citizens. We exhort the state to be deliberate in dealing with the hurting memories of its citizens. As a Church we are committed to supporting a just system which protects the dignity of all human beings and the rights of its citizens and we oppose and rebuke any human rights violations of citizens who are God’s people.
- We call upon SADC to seriously consider how best Zimbabwe can be assisted out of its quagmire and provide lasting solutions. We further call upon citizens of the SADC region to be hospitable to fellow Africans. Let us be one another’s keeper. What Zimbabwe is going through could one day be at our own door steps. Treat your fellow Africans with kindness and love knowing that in most of these instances, when you welcome these people, you may be welcoming God (Matthew 25:25-35).
- Zimbabwe needs collective actions in search for solutions. We implore the political party leaders to stop playing games with people’s lives and engage in dialogue towards solving the challenges bedevilling the country.
- Widespread drought has debilitating impact on human life, animals and ecology. We call for support for all communities.
- We observed the almost total collapse of the formal economy and calls for greater support to the subsistence informal economy. We further call for capital investment, trade and infrastructural development.
- Sanctions affect the vulnerable and marginalised instead those it was intended to target. The UCCSA calls for the immediate lifting of these sanctions.
Peace be with you all.