By Elena Mupandawana
The Church’s engagement meeting with the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission organized by the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace in Zimbabwe (CCJPZ) on 03 October 2023 in Harare laid the foundation for collaboration in curbing alarming levels of corruption in the country. The Ecumenical Church Leaders Forum (ECLF), Union for Development of Apostolic and Zionist Churches (UDACIZA), Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe (EFZ), the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops’ Conference (ZCBC), Centre for Conflict Management and Transformation (CCMT), and Zimbabwe Divine Destiny (ZDD) participated in the engagement meeting and had the chance to meet face to face with representatives of the Zimbabwe Anti-corruption Commission (ZACC) to hear from the horse’s mouth about what is being done to deal with alarming levels of corruption especially after the 2023 harmonized elections and beyond.
ZCBC Secretary General, Fr. Tryvis Moyo applauded ZACC for being a critical stakeholder in the Church’s peace building work.
Fr. Moyo said: “The ongoing engagement between the Church and ZACC is destined to yield sustainable peace and development in Zimbabwe. Our experience as we implement our peace-building activities has encountered corrupt elements that cause conflict and disrupt peace and harmony in the process. The Church identified corruption as the cause of callousness where the dignity of men and women is lost. For instance, corruption is rife in the business, political system, and in every sector that those who are not connected find it extremely difficult to survive. Corruption, conflicts, and resentment can only be solved amicably if the Church, State, and ZACC work together. We cannot go it alone in combating corruption. We need to destroy the belief system that keeps other people unto themselves reinforcing a partial view of reality and intolerance. Who will police the police?”
Fr. Tryvis Moyo referred to the 2005 pastoral letter ‘God Hears the Cry of the Oppressed,’ lamenting that;
“The Church should be zealous in its preaching and defending anti-corruption activities. We encounter challenges of corruption that disturb peace and harmony in many situations. True peace should aim at being honest when working together and it should not be based on personal interests. Our country is in a crisis. May we try to serve our brothers and sisters; the voiceless, who are languishing in poverty whilst the minority of the people are getting rich”.
Dr. Munyaradzi Magiga, challenged the Church to preach about the effects of corruption saying Church members constitute over 85 percent of the population in Zimbabwe.
He said: “Corrupt activities are now in almost every institution for instance, in education, health, central registry, agriculture and even in Church institutions. The day-to-day activities have shown the reality of corruption whereby from the local level to the top management there is, bribery, the use of false documents, and the abuse of office. Therefore, the practical way to mitigate these factors is to enhance the collaboration of citizens and empower them by having pieces of training on anti-corruption activities.
ZACC tasked the Church to form, operate and establish integrity committees for whistle-blowing, and roll out anti-corruption awareness campaigns to other church members and organizations. A joint technical team was proposed to spearhead action plans to raise public awareness on corruption through joint campaigns with the government, civil society and faith-based groups. The two bodies agreed to continue the engagement meetings between ZACC and Church leaders to nip corruption in the bud.