By Br. Alfonce Kugwa
The head of the Catholic Archdiocese of Harare, Archbishop Robert Christopher Ndlovu, has called on political leaders to tame their egos, swallow their pride and address daily bread and butter issues affecting the people of Zimbabwe.
Speaking to the Catholic Church News, Archbishop Ndlovu attested that “things are not right in Zimbabwe” and challenged political leaders to pursue serious dialogue and find solutions to the social-economic and political problems bedevilling the country.
The cleric said: “Sanctions aside, we need to address our situation. Let us share the cake equally and not blame our malpractices on sanctions. Each political side has to play its role in addressing economic problems by acknowledging weaknesses in administering the country’s resources.”
Asked whether the anti-sanctions matches endorsed by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) would yield meaningful results, Archbishop Ndlovu said it was better to engage in dialogue than matches because they would not bring about tangible outcomes.
“I prefer dialogue than matches which are a show off. There is strength in dialogue. We achieve more by dialoguing than manifestations. Our solutions lie in dialogue,” he said.
Consider needs of people
Archbishop Ndlovu said Zimbabwe’s situation was different from a war situation, and he called on the leaders of the two main political parties, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Alliance and ZANU-PF to consider the needs of the people.
He urged them to take a leaf from Zimbabwe’s recent history on resolving electoral disputes under which ZANU-PF and the MDC formed a Government of National Unity (GNU) in 2009, the first ever such political formation.
Archbishop Ndlovu buttressed the recently published press statement by the Zimbabwe Heads of Christian Denominations (ZHOCD) calling the country to a national Sabbath for trust and confidence building by engaging in a GNU for seven years.
In its press statement, the ZHOCD said the Church leaders have observed the current environment does not allow for meaningful political reforms nor is it conducive for inclusive economic participation by ordinary citizens.
Toxic political environment
The current environment, he said, was toxic, and had made political relations and international re-engagement process hard and futile, which was undermining investor confidence and prospects for economic growth.
The Archbishop of Harare stressed that political leaders must show, with their actions, that they represent the people who elected them.
“If they are all for the people as they claim to be, they must show that through humility and willingness to engage in meaningful discussions for the benefit of the people and the country,” he said.
Need responsible leadership
The Archbishop said while such institutions as SADC and the African Union could help in restoring the legacy of Zimbabwe, the local leaders had greater responsibility to attend to the country’s welfare.
Archbishop Ndlovu noted that not a pantheon, but political will to reform and address issues of corruption and maladministration can only bail Zimbabwe from its deepening crisis.
He called on the government to tackle corruption sincerely, stop murky business deals, recover stolen property and cash looted from the state and ensure proper use of national resources.
“Issues of corruption than sanctions are daunting the country’s economy and you do not need to be an expert to address corruption. It’s not healthy that few companies are running the economy while government folds its arms and watch.’
The Archbishop highlighted that if sanctions were measures to compel Harare to reform some of its irregularities in its political and so called new dispensation, then the sooner we address them the better.
According to Archbishop Ndlovu, Zimbabwe does not need an ambassador to tell her to deal with corruption rather the government should use the powers invested in it to deal with the situation. He said this referring to some controversial comments being made against the American Ambassador Brian Nichols.