On the 14th August 2019, the Zimbabwe Council of Churches delegation met the president of the Movement for Democratic Change, Nelson Chamisa, at their party headquarters in Harare. The meeting comes after the Urgent Pastoral Letter issued on the 8th of August 2019 by the Zimbabwe Heads of Christian Denominations (ZHOCD) in response to the call by the MDC for a demonstration. The Pastoral letter expressed concerns for peace as well as calling for the actors to move towards dialogue.
The church delegation was made up of Rt Revd Bishop Eric Ruwona: ZCC Advisory Board Vice-Chairperson; Revd Dr. Kenneth Mtata: ZCC General Secretary; Revd Dr. Kennedy Gondongwe: ZCC Board Member; Mr. Tinashe Gumbo: Programme Officer; and Revd Samuel Sifelani: Ecumenical Liaison Officer.
After extensive deliberations, a plethora of issues emerged. The church leaders implored the organisers to make sure the envisaged demonstration would be peaceful. They also reiterated their previous calls for a comprehensive and broad-based national dialogue as a guarantee for a lasting solution to the myriad of national challenges.
Reverend Mtata revealed that the MDC president expressed his and his party’s appreciation to the church’s engagement and commitment to a comprehensive and broad-based national dialogue. The meeting agreed that the establishment of a multi-stakeholder consultative platform was important to ensure broad-based ownership of the reform agenda could be one outcome of the national dialogue.
The church leaders agreed to reach out to President Mnangagwa to convey the MDC leader’s request for a bilateral meeting, as well as for the church leaders engage His Excellency on a broad range of issues of national concern.