The Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe (EFZ), a grouping of over 800 churches, predominantly pentecostal, representing at least 4.5 million Christians has backed the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops Conference (ZCBC) position on human rights abuses in the country.
Last Friday the Archbishop Robert Christopher Ndlovu-led ZCBC unreservedly condemned the government’s crackdown on civil rights activists and the deteriorating political and economic situation in Zimbabwe in their pastoral letter entitled: “The march is not ended.”
In its response, the government also fired a broadside at Catholic bishops calling Archbishop Ndlovu “evil minded”, “misguided” and seeking to ferment tribalism in the country.
Zimbabweans who took to social media have condemned Information and Broadcasting Services Minister, Monica Mutsvangwa’s response as unwarranted, with some demanding that she apologises for her reckless utterances.
EFZ, in its solidarity statement with the Catholic bishops headlined: “WE STAND WITH THE TRUTH AS ARTICULATED BY THE CATHOLIC BISHOPS” dated 17 August 2020, said the bishops were spot on.
“We the Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe (EFZ), encompassing 845 member bodies, representing over 4.5 million Christians, wish to categorically state that we stand in solidarity with the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops Conference (ZCBC),” said the EFZ.
“As it is said, “we cannot find any reason to condemn them” because what they articulated is the truth, and nothing but the truth.”
The EFZ said only deceitful and malicious people would deny the truth articulated by the men of the cloth.
The grouping said they were agreed with Catholic bishop’s position that the government of the day is “focused on things other than national democratic priorities.”
“True democracy is not built on threatening and criticising those who speak up or speak out; it is not in denying inconvenient and unpalatable truth; it is not in demonising those we disagree with,” said the EFZ.
“Democracy welcomes truth. Democracy is built on the search for truth. Feet and bodies may have been stopped on the 31st of July 2020 but the truth marches on. Harsh criticism may be poured out on the church and its leaders but the truth still marches on. Abductions, torture and incarcerations may be unleashed on journalists and every voice of dissent but the truth will still march on like it did during the struggle for independence against more sophisticated and superior force of arms, and a state machinery that made every aspirant of freedom a hunted terrorist.”
The EFZ added: “Truth may be on the cross today, and wrong may be on the throne but on the third day, it will rise again because the truth still marches on. We reiterate the need for an inclusive engagement, dialogue and transformation.”