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|Churches in Zimbabwe call for ‘Guarantee freedom of worship|
|Sunday News Reporter
Churches in Zimbabwe have called upon the Government to make sure that freedom of worship is clearly spelled out and enshrined in the new constitution, Sunday News can reveal.
In separate interviews, pastors from different church denominations in Bulawayo said the constitution-making process should not prioritise politics and human rights, but should remember that blessed nations are those religiously tolerant.
Pastor Goodwill Shana of Word of Life Ministries commended Zimbabwe for ensuring and respecting different religions since independence.
“I cannot complain about the religious ground in Zimbabwe because it has been conducive, but it is a must for us to remind the players in the constitutional making process to guarantee freedom of worship. I know some people take this for granted but if you go down history, you will see that politics has tended to clash with religion in situations were there is no clear outline of religious freedom,’’ said Pastor Shana.
He said churches should be involved in the consultation process in order to ensure that the constitution was divine ordained.
“A constitution is like a compass that guides a vessel and as such the making of it cannot be left to politicians alone. But you should understand that Word of Life totally believes and is committed in principle to the Global Political Agreement procedure. All we demand is transparency and an all-encompassing process.’’
Pastor Judia Mguni of African Gospel Church said Jesus Christ should be made the foundation of the nation for the country to prosper.
“If people are free to observe the religion of their choice, I see Zimbabwe getting out of the woods. I believe that Zimbabwe is a Christian nation but we must not make the mistake of defining it that way because we have diverse religions. Whether one is a Christian or a Muslim the constitution should make sure that one is free to exercise his beliefs without fear of harassment,’’ said Pastor Mguni.
A pastor from the Seventh Day Adventist who requested anonymity said his church was not concerned about the constitution-making process, but the final draft that would be presented for a referendum.
“Our church does not stick its nose in politics except on issues that have to do with religious freedom. The constitution should safeguard freedom of worship and people should be free to worship in a manner they want, where they want and when they want.
“The history of politics versus religion is filled with the blood of innocent souls whose only sin was to worship in a manner not approved by the governments of the day. We want to avoid those mistakes and as a church we are confident that the new constitution will recognise religious freedom,’’ he said.
Zimbabwe has respected and recognised all religions since it attained independence in 1980.
The only period in which freedom of worship was selective was during the colonial era when the constitution outlawed African religions, dismissing them as diabolic.
Source: Sunday News, Harare/Zimbabwe