ZIMBABWE: Bishops Call on Citizens to Rebuild and Restore as Country Marks 40 years of Independence

HARARE, APRIL 7, 2020 (CISA) – The Zimbabwe Catholic Bishop’s Conference (ZCCB) has called on leaders and citizens to work on rebuilding and restoring the country as they celebrate 40th anniversary of independence.

“This time is a time for conversion, an opportune time for change…For the children of Zimbabwe this is a moment of recognizing the opportunity offered to us by God. It demands that we look back to where we are coming from. acknowledge our gains, sins and pains, reflect on where we are today and looking into the future, initiate processes that will lead us to the dream that God has and the dream that we have for our country,” they said in an April 2 statement.

They noted that the number 40 is symbolic in the scriptures that often reflected a journey of God and his people, leading them back to himself.

“The number 40 has great spiritual and theological meaning as it is a period of rebuilding, rediscovery which at times came through destruction in the time of floods… 40 is more than a number…It is a period of grace, a time of restoration, a time of fortification and a time of peace… It also marks a reprieve,” they said.

They noted that Zimbabwe rose from  colonial oppression, racism, inequality ,violation of human rights, poverty and hunger, and has made strides in economic, education, and health sector, efforts that need to be increased, now more than ever.

“As we celebrate our forty years Of Independence, we acknowledge that we have made some achievements but also some things went wrong along the way. We need to acknowledge the dark chapter in our national memory which led to the killing of many civilians in Matebeleland and parts of Midlands soon after independence. We have missed so many opportunities that God has given us. We missed the opportunity soon after independence to redefine and seek a different political path from what colonialism had chartered us. We missed the opportunity of national healing processes based on the policy of reconciliation,” they noted.

They lauded the adoption of the current constitution in 2013 which they noted that if fully adhered to could ensure a great life for the people of Zimbabwe.

The bishops noted that the country needs to work toward reconciliation and healing past hurts by historical injustices in the country.

“There is hunger for reconciliation and addressing the past hurts and injustices. For instance the establishment Of the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) gives hope to promote healing and reconciliation in our nation. However. The NPRC is still to be fully operationalized and the duration of its mandate remains unclear. Apart from Other grey areas, which is leading to loss of confidence in the Commission,” they noted.

They mentioned nevertheless that other efforts of promoting dialogue within and among the people and with the international community are also good for the wellbeing of the country now and in the future.

The statement was signed by Robert C. Ndlovu, Archbishop of Harare (ZCBC President) Alex Thomas, Archbishop of Bulawayo, PauI Horan, Bishop of Mutare,Michael Dixon Bhasera, Bishop of Masvingo & Apostolic Administrator of Gweru,Albert Serrano, Bishop of Hwange,Rudolf Nyandoro, Bishop of Gokwe,Raymond Mupandasekwa, Bishop of Chinhoyi. Zimbabwe will be celebrating 40 years of independence on April 18.