Bongani Ndlovu, Chronicle Reporter
ZANU-PF national political commissar Cde Mike Bimha has implored churches to engage in dialogue with Government in pursuit of peace, unity and development of the country.
Speaking during a meeting with church leaders that was organised by the Council for Churches in Africa (CCA) at the City Pentecostal Church in Bulawayo on Wednesday, Cde Mike Bimha said the church and Government are pursuing similar goals hence the need to engage each other on issues involving nation building.
The meeting, which ran under the theme; “The role of the Church in Consolidating Peace and Development in an Independent Africa” sought to address challenges faced by churches in securing land for worshipping purposes among other issues.
Responding to concerns raised by CCA president Bishop Dr Rocky Moyo on their failure to access land for worshipping purposes, Cde Bimha said just like Government and the ruling party Zanu-PF, the church is for the people and by the people.
“If you are against the church, you are equally against the Government and the ruling party.
And again, if you are against the Government, you are also against the church because we have the same goals,” he said.
“Government and the church want to see functioning hospitals and schools, building of infrastructure and businesses prospering, particularly those owned by indigenous people.”
Cde Bimha commended church leaders for engaging the ruling party as it is the basis upon which the Government of the day is formed.
“There is no difference between politics and the church because the church is about people and politics is also about people.
In most countries, leaders emerged from churches and even here in Zimbabwe, we had the likes of Reverends Canaan Banana, Kachidza, Ndabaningi Sithole and Bishop Muzorewa who fought for social justice as a church.
“Even in South Africa there was Archbishop Desmond Tutu who was inside the ANC because he also wanted to see justice,” he said.
Cde Bimha said since Government comes from the ruling party with Cabinet Ministers deployed by the party, there is need for churches to engage Zanu-PF on pertinent issues that affect the country and have to do with their well-being.
“You can’t say, I want to speak to the Government, but not the party, it doesn’t work like that.
So, when you come through the party, the party will in turn inform the Government on what to do,” he said.
“If you approach the Government and ask for stands or any other church-related issues, you might not get them, but if you approach the party, you won’t fail to get your issues addressed.”
Cde Bimha said President Mnangagwa is a listening leader.
“President Mnangagwa is a listening President, but if people don’t talk, how will he know their issues? So, keep on articulating your issues as churches, so that the President can be able to address them,” he said.
“What was highlighted by Bishop Moyo, I hope it was noted so that I can also forward it to the President for his attention.”
Cde Bimha said churches should prioritise communication when it comes to addressing pertinent issues that require Government or the party’s intervention
“Some things are stagnant because people do not communicate, even at family level it’s the same.
When I was in business, we used to think that the Government didn’t care about us,” he said.
In his remarks, Bishop Dr Moyo quoted Romans 13 verses 1-2 which says: “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established.
The authorities that exist have been established by God.
Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.”
Bishop Moyo said, in its wisdom, the church saw it fit to engage Zanu-PF on issues affecting it.
“It was the church’s duty to look after the orphans, widows and the poor in society, but we can’t do that because some of us have no land for churches.
We have been applying to the City of Bulawayo since 2012 until today without any success,” he said.
“We want to support our own Government so that we can build schools, clinics and other social amenities.”
Bishop Moyo said some congregants are paying exorbitant rentals for worshipping spaces yet that money could easily be channelled towards helping the less privileged members of society.
“According to the constitution, there is freedom of worship; but freedom of worship where? Some churches are forced to pay US$500 per month in rentals,” he said.
“Mind you, it is not like we want these stands or land for free. In fact, we can actually pay for them.
We, therefore, implore Government to intervene and assist us secure land for worshipping purposes.”
Follow on Twitter @bonganinkunzi