Nyemudzai Kakore Harare Bureau
Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe (EFZ) has denounced the call of banning female contraceptives saying the move is totally misguided and contraceptives are part of management of affairs.EFZ is a denomination which has a membership of about 8 million Christians which consists of 467 denominations including AFM and ZAOGA, according to the ecclesiastical group’s president Dr Goodwill Shana.
In an interview on the side lines of the launch of the 4/14 Summit Window on Child Rights, which is a global strategy for the church to have more focus on children, Dr Shana said the number of children should tally with the economic performance of a country.
“We are not totally convinced that unlimited control is the answer but we need to pay attention to population growth and we don’t think an unguarded throw away of condoms and contraceptives is the answer.
“An uncontrolled youth population can be a burden to the family and country in terms of resources and to say let’s have the children like in the Bible it is a bit unguarded. There should be a balance between growth and the welfare of the child,” said Dr Shana.
His comments come at a time when Registrar-General Tobaiwa Mudede called for the government to ban contraceptives saying it has negative side effects on women and is a “ploy by powerful nations to retard Africa’s population growth”.
The EFZ president said the increased number of children without resources increases cases of abuse.
“Many families that have huge numbers of children actually create conditions for vulnerability and abuse and poverty, so we have to take a middle of the road approach of population growth and contraception,” he said. “You cannot expect to have many children if the environment is not conducive and this is exacerbated in a violent climate as well as stagnant economic situation”.
Dr Shana also condemned the distribution of contraceptives in schools saying it increases the rate of immorality.
“The church is vehemently opposed to the distribution of condoms and contraceptives in schools. I think we need a health sector education which tells people how to take care of themselves and be in control.
“But to give contraception is actually perhaps to encourage immorality and promiscuity at an early age. We are still dealing with a child, they have rights but those rights must be managed so that they are exercised maturely,” he said.
While critical of the conduct of church leaders, the EFZ president accused the media of sensationalization of stories regarding the religion.
“Abuse and wrongdoing is common to many people but what has been happening in the media is that there has been an unbalanced view of church. It looks like all the church leaders are doing it, but with correct configured numbers there will be less than 1 per-cent of the entire church leaders.”
He said in reference to the behaviour of disgraced church leaders like Robert Gumbura jailed for 40 years for rape. “You the media you sensationalise, Gumbura and a few others have become the epitome of all the churches but that is not true”.
He added that the church was concerned about issues of abortion particularly moves by government to legalise abortion “because it is a violation of the right to life”.
The 4/14 window is a global strategy which focuses on children between the age of 4 and14.The reason why it focuses on that is that they are the most vulnerable and are the transformative elements of society.