By Byron Mutingwende
The gesture by President Emmerson Mnangagwa to accord the late former Prime Minister and MDC-T leader, Mr Morgan Tsvangirai a state assisted funeral sets the tone for national peace, unity and reconciliation, the Apostolic Christian Council of Churches (ACCZ) has said.
“The church should take up the message of unity and reconciliation as exhibited by President Mnangagwa when he accorded the man whom he used to differ with on political views, the late former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, a state assisted funeral. That move sets the tone for national healing. As a church, we were challenged by the President to let peace and love lead,” said Archbishop Dr Johannes Ndanga, the ACCZ President in Harare on Thursday before his departure to South Korea for an international inter-religious conference on peace.
Archbishop Ndanga was recently elected the life President of ACCZ at the organisation’s last congress held in Bulawayo. At that congress the church members were unanimous in their support for former President Robert Mugabe. ACCZ members also participated at a rally that was graced by former First Lady Grace Mugabe. Those events left some members with a view that Archbishop Ndanga was a man of the cloth who was meddling in the politics of the country.
“Those ACCZ members who go about portraying me as a factionalist are misguided. As a church, we believe leaders come from God. The leader at that time was former President Mugabe and we had to obey him since authority and leadership come from God. The church is not a political terrain,” Ndanga said.
He urged church leaders to desist from meddling in political power struggles but instead preach national healing, peace and reconciliation. As a member of the church’s National Council of Elders currently chaired by Bishop Nehemiah Mutendi of the Zion Church, Ndanga said the church should play a critical role in the national healing process.
Archbishop Ndanga was recently appointed as the co-chairperson of the Inter-religious Association for peace and Development for Africa. He is due to relocate to Senegal where he will take up his new post. The trip to South Korea will also see him undergoing induction for his new continental role that is instrumental in promoting peace in the world.
As the co-chairperson of the Inter-religious Association for Peace and Development, Ndanga would coordinate peace efforts in Africa. He said that he would try to influence the nomination of President Mnangagwa for the award of the Universal Peace Federation on good governance and leadership because of the work he is doing in promoting peace.
“President Mnangagwa has demonstrated a high level of fairness and justice and promoting peace since he took over as the new President of the Republic of Zimbabwe after the resignation of former President Mugabe. The winner will walk away with US$50 million. President Macky of Senegal recently won the award for good governance in January 2018.