Zimbabwe Council Of Churches General secretary, Reverend Kenneth Mtata, has called upon churches to encourage young and intelligent people to get into politics.
Speaking on his YouTube channel, Rev Mtata said :
The church in Zimbabwe has always felt that when it speaks on issues that sound, political, it is transgressive.
And we are realizing that this is not only the church, but also almost everyone in society feels like there are people who are supposed to be called political activists, and the rest of the people must stay away from politics..
Actually at home, young people are discouraged from being involved in politics they are told: politics is dirty politics is dangerous.
But I think it is important for us to know that there are countries where this is not the case. If you go to Finland, today, you will find that a young lady in her 30s runs the country, is the head of the country.
If you go to Canada. There is a young man involved in politics. In other countries, you find the elderly people who are running the country involved in politics, in a very very clean way.
So, the idea that politics is dirty, politics is dangerous, is not the norm. It is the abnormal situation.
And that is why it is the responsibility of the church to normalize political participation.
And the church normalizes political participation, not necessarily by becoming a political party itself. No, aligning itself with any political party. But on one hand, the church must encourage its members to participate in party politics.
People must form, political parties. People must be encouraged to join political parties. People must be encouraged to participate in politics.
But on the other end, the church must also hold accountable their members who are in politics. There is a big danger in that when people have gone into politics and they become members of parliament when they come to church. The church, creates a high table , for these politicians when they come to church, so that the church fails to hold these people accountable, because these people have become untouchable, or they have become above the authority of the Church, this is a big problem.
If the church is going to play meaningfully in politics. It must hold accountable, its members. In Zimbabwe, almost 90% of politicians belong to one church.
We are not supposed to be having corrupt politicians in Zimbabwe. We are not supposed to have their politicians who use violence, because they will be held accountable by their pastors.
We should not have politicians who abuse their power, because they will be held accountable. We cannot have politicians who abuse women if they belong to churches because their churches won’t hold them accountable.
So, the church has let the people down, because it’s not holding accountable their members.
Every church leader has a responsibility to arraign their members and to hold them accountable.
But there’s a third thing that the church can also do to make sure that politics becomes sanitized and becomes a place that attracts the best people.
It’s by making sure that it deploys its best people. We have realized that in our situation politics is for the courageous, not necessarily for the intelligent.
Many people who are intelligent, many people who have something to defend, are afraid to get into politics, because they feel like they are fighting with pigs and they will get dirty.
And for this reason, only a few intelligent, and people with integrity, choose to participate in politics, otherwise you end up having only people we have nothing to lose, getting involved in politics, and therefore, for this reason, our politics becomes very mediocre.
And it doesn’t produce the results that transform people’s lives. So the church can also get involved in politics by deploying its best, by making sure that those men and women of integrity in the church are deployed to carry the role of the public ministry.
Actually, people should go first and from ask their pastors, if they believe they have a calling to go into public ministry. Advisors must say, we don’t think your character allows you to go into the public space, or we think this is the right place for you and we’re going to pray for you.
There is a fourth thing that the Church will also need to do. The church cannot use its own theological positions to determine who is supposed to be leader who is not supposed to.
Actually there is a temptation to use theological statements during elections, we used to hear one politician saying God is in it. And the other one says, the voice of the people is the voice of God.
All these are meant to attract those who believe, so that they can support political positions. The good thing we know is that God does not have favorites among politicians, what God is looking for is people who are just, he is looking for people who are truthful, and he is looking for people who want to make sure that all vulnerable people are taken care of.
God doesn’t support political parties. So no matter how much people go to church, and look for support, saying God is sent them, the church must reject such claims, because God has no political favorites.
God allows people to make choices, and if you make a choice today to join one political party or the other. God will bless you if you have a clean conscience in doing that.
In other words, God has people in Zanu PF. God has people in the MDC, God has people in APA and in all the other political parties.
But God abhors people who use their political positions to disadvantage the poor, and to steal from the poor, into rob the dignity of the people.
God abhors such people. and that is why the church must make sure his voice is heard in how the politics is reconfigured.
Actually, right now we are in desperate need for reconfiguring our politics, because our politics was born in violence. The colonial project was a violent project. It was a robing project. The people were dispossessed. After independence, it became a violent project, it was a dispossessing project, it was a stealing project.
So, until and unless there is a national convention in which we find a way to report on new politics, to give birth to a different kind of politics, a politics of ideas, a politics of non violence, and the politics, not only of competition but also of complementarity Zimbabwe is not going to make as much progress as it was going to make.
And this is why the church needs to come in once in a while and call the politicians to remember the values that must inform politics.
In other words, the church responsibility is more today than even it was during the liberation struggle, because today the church is supposed to be raising the flag of values, which is very difficult, because many people may not see its monetary value, they may not see its economic value.
But the church needs to rise up and say, We want to clean our politics, and for this reason, we want to reclaim the values that must inform the public space.
Please watch the video above this post for more details.