- Last Updated on 02 May 2013
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THE Zimbabwe Heads of Christian Denominations (ZHOCD), which is a unified national body of church leaders has committed to preaching the gospel of peace, tolerance and reconciliation ahead of elections. The move could strengthen the non-governmental initiatives of peace-building and political conflict prevention during and after the crucial polls in 2013.
The churches were giving their solidarity speech when they pronounced the commitment to preach peace to Zimbabweans at a luncheon organized by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) on the occasion of the Workers' Day Celebrations in Harare.
"Today the nation of Zimbabwe is at a cross roads; a decisive moment, commonly called KAIROS in theological terms, when God's people are faced with making life-changing choices as they seek God's guidance.
"As the Church, we call for and demand a peaceful environment in 2013 before, during and after the elections, € said Mr. Peter Maregere who delivered the Churches' solidarity speech.
The ZHOCD said the past experiences of Zimbabweans provided sufficient motivation for them to break from the violent past and its attendant socio-economic challenges by embarking on unrelenting efforts to achieve the goal of peace.
"The untenable situation of the past decade emboldens many to want to move boldly forward.
"The Church has been empowering communities with peace building capacities as a way of healing the wounded from June 2008 elections and also as a way of preventing a recurrence of violence.
"This will have to be an ongoing exercise. Communities have been hurt over many years and it will take years to heal and cultivate a culture of peace, € said the ZHOCD.
The churches said they continued to cultivate peace but were worried and unsettled by new cases of political violence which occurred under the Inclusive Government.
"More concerted efforts continue to be made towards comprehensive national healing and reconciliation but this has been limited owing to a non-conducive environment and new instances of violence, € the ZHOCD said.
The ZHOCD said churches were better positioned to unite people because they are non-partisan institutions of moral guidance and brought together people from different political parties.
"In fact, the Church looks beyond the parties and derives its echoes from the eternal Kingdom of God, a kingdom of love, truth, justice, freedom and peace.
"Our collective experiences and reflection processes have led us to a realization that we need to be proactive in the promotion of peace. €
The ZHOCD brings together three umbrella church bodies - the Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe (EFZ), the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops' Conference (ZCBC) and the Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC) - to promote peace under what in known as the Ecumenical Peace Observation Initiative in Zimbabwe (EPOIZ).