The Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe (EFZ) Criticizes Speaker Mudenda for Allowing Unconstitutional Recalls of Opposition Legislators
The Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe (EFZ) has condemned Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda for his partisan conduct in permitting the unconstitutional recalls of elected opposition legislators. Sengezo Tshabangu, claiming to be the interim secretary general (SG) of the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC), successfully recalled 15 MPs and 17 CCC councillors by alleging that they were no longer party members.
In response, the EFZ, led by Bishop Never Mparutsa, issued a pastoral letter expressing concern over the erosion of democracy and justice in the aftermath of the disputed 2023 elections. They criticized the Speaker and the Senate President for legitimizing these questionable recalls, warning that such actions could undermine trust in the ruling party, government, and the overall political establishment.
The EFZ appealed to all politicians involved in the post-election political contest to respect the country’s constitution and prioritize national interests over partisan concerns. They commended the peaceful conduct of the elections but highlighted various concerns, including election-related violence, arrests of ordinary citizens and elected opposition members, and administrative challenges during the electoral process.
Emphasizing the role of the Church in promoting justice, reconciliation, peace, and unity, the EFZ called on its members to be a positive force in Zimbabwe. They acknowledged the need for engagement and dialogue to address the challenges arising from the election contestations and to foster national transformation.
The EFZ expressed its commitment to upholding the integrity and independence of national institutions such as the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) and the courts. They urged their members to continue praying for the nation and encouraged prayerful engagement in pursuit of justice, peace, reconciliation, unity, and shared prosperity.
The EFZ, established in 1962, consists of over 900 member bodies, including denominations, church bodies, ministries, and para-church organizations.
“In the aftermath of the elections, we prayerfully register EFZ’s concern, regret and disappointment at the potential threats to democracy, justice delivery, social order and national peace that the entertainment and legitimisation by the Speaker of Parliament and the Senate President of various questionable recalls, are likely to foster.
“This has the potential to undermine the trust of Zimbabweans towards the ruling party (Zanu PF), government and the entire political establishment,” said EFZ.
“The elections of the 23rd and 24th of August 2023 have come and gone and yet again have left behind controversy, dispute and division. Despite this, the EFZ commends the church and the nation of Zimbabwe, for the generally peaceful and quiet manner in which the elections were conducted, notwithstanding the concerns that we will address hereafter.
“Among these was the isolated but saddening and needless loss of lives due to election-related violence reported ahead of the polls, the arrests and prosecution of ordinary Zimbabweans on election day, and the arrest and prosecution of duly elected and sworn-in opposition Members of Parliament (MPs) and councillors after the elections.
“As believers, we firmly believe that the peace and restraint witnessed in the election period is attributable to the Lord Jesus Christ and the influence and presence of followers of Jesus Christ in Zimbabwe.
“In the aftermath of the elections and the divisions that often accompany political contestation in Zimbabwe, the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ must rise to its high calling and promote justice, reconciliation, peace and unity in order to build the Zimbabwe God wants.”
The church, EFZ reiterated, is found in every village, community and province of Zimbabwe and must use its presence to be the salt and light that stems the tide of deterioration and darkness in the nation of Zimbabwe.
“As the church, we followed the electoral processes and activities before, during and after elections. It is common knowledge that there were a number of shortcomings that were noted throughout the electoral process.
“Although the list is not exhaustive, below are some of the concerns we have registered. These include, the challenges that were raised in relation to the delimitation exercise, the lack of voter education in the period leading up to the elections, the uneven playing field for political parties to campaign freely, including the bias of mainstream media coverage, or lack thereof, of the various campaigns.”
“As part of this, the need to restore and uphold the integrity, independence and public confidence of ZEC, the courts and other national institutions, is imperative.
“We therefore urge you, our members to continue to stand in prayer for our nation during this time, as you have always done; and call the nation to prayerful engagement in the pursuit of justice, fairness, peace, reconciliation, unity and shared prosperity, in order to build the Zimbabwe God wants,” EFZ said.