President Mnangagwa has made it clear that his door remains open to dialogue, whether with the Church, political players or members of the civil society.
True to his word, President Mnangagwa has always been a listening leader with access to him not cumbersome. This, notwithstanding his busy schedule personified by his pragmatism as an action man who works around the clock and leads from the front.
The country’s top leadership today follows different Christian denominations.
President Mnangagwa is a Methodist while his Vice President Constantino Chiwenga and the ruling party acting spokesperson Cde Patrick Chinamasa are Catholics.
Surely, with the high moral conduct expected of the clergy, wouldn’t it have made sense for them to desist from the megaphonic approach?
Would it have caused any discomfiture for the Catholic bishops to engage the Government through its open door policy without acting in a manner clearly meant to attract and spotlight attention from the usual detractors who for years have regurgitated the same message of doom.
Read from any angle, the so-called pastoral letter had the effect of stoking disunity, disharmony and acrimony.
Apart from the innuendos and connotations manifest in the title, “The march is not ended”, the letter also contemptuously prescribed how a democratically-elected Government with the mandate of the people should govern.
In their reprehensible letter, that was shorn of diplomacy and indeed lacked moral rectitude, the bishops had the temerity to say; “It is not clear to us as your bishops that the national leadership that we have has the knowledge, social skill, emotional stability and social orientation to handle the issues we face as a nation”.
Such unholy gibberish can never be expected of people who claim to be men of the cloth, let alone representatives of one of the biggest churches in the world. It’s either they join politics or remain as pastors.
Fortunately, President Mnangagwa has yet again opened doors as a listening President, with the time and patience to listen to anyone and indeed everyone who wants to engage him.
The Roman Catholic Church in Zimbabwe has more than four million members who include magistrates and judges, farmers, and people from different political persuasions.
The question is, was the pastoral letter reflective of the views shared by the Roman Catholic Church in Zimbabwe, or this is a ploy from the country’s detractors and some supremacists to sow seeds of disunity, hate and divisions using a few politically-inclined bishops?
The stance taken by the Government to engage the Vatican Pro-Nuncio to Zimbabwe, Archbishop Marek Zalewski was indeed a masterstroke that will demonstrate whether the Holy See shares the same disdainful views that belittle a whole sovereign nation by seeking to prescribe solutions to its internal affairs.
What is worse, there is no crisis in Zimbabwe as the bishops sought to achieve, only that the country like any other nation is going through challenges wrought by the Covid-19 pandemic.
One could be pardoned for being angry with the Catholic Church pastoral letter because it was partisan and blind to the efforts that have been made under the Second Republic to engage, re-engage, entrench democracy and fight corruption.
The President, through the Matabeleland Collective, has reached out to stakeholders in the Matabeleland region to bring closure to the emotive Gukurahundi issue.
Through his efforts, Government will exhume and rebury victims of Gukurahundi and offer medical assistance, implement protection mechanisms and provide relevant documentation for the affected persons, but the church wanted to play the regional and tribal card, to what end exactly?
Now, the question is, why is the Catholic Church trying to stir up regional emotions when it is clear that the issues affecting that region are being dealt with from the highest office in the land, with the necessary haste, barring the effects of and restraints cast by the Covid-19 pandemic?
It is refreshing that Government has kept a cool head notwithstanding the reckless pastoral letter that was laced with provocation and laden with divisive messages.
The ball is now in the Catholic Church’s court and they should disprove their critics who see a foreign hand behind their pastoral letter.
The Zanu PF Government, with its rich liberation war history and heritage, worked hand-in-glove with the Church as the ministers of conscience, counsellors during a period when the rights of a black man were trampled upon during the liberation struggle and those ties remain close to this day.
The Church should rise above petty politics and assume the role of feeding the souls of the nation, it is the moral duty of the Church to serve the people and provide wise counsel to the Government.
As the king’s whisperers, the Church should not therefore assume an antagonistic stance and dress their political messages under religious robes, no, they surely cannot have it both ways.
Instead of parroting the whims and caprices of the country’s detractors, the Church should be that bridge that brings lost sheep, bleating in the wilderness, to the collective, because they, just like every other being in this country have only one country called Zimbabwe.
The Catholic Church, which is one of the richest organisations on the planet, should not be used by a foreign hand that would want to reverse the gains of the country’s hard won independence.
When the Church, without evidence, claims that State institutions such as the courts are captured, that naturally solicits outright condemnation.
Instead, President Mnangagwa as the listening leader has tasked Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Dr Sibusiso Moyo to engage the Vatican to tie up any loose ends and ensure that the truth trumps lies manufactured by those who are averse to Zimbabwe’s progress.