Christian Organization in Zimbabwe “condemns” Politicization of Development Agenda

Logo for the International Day for the Right to the Truth Concerning Gross Human Rights Violations and for the Dignity of Victims

On the International Day for the Right to the Truth Concerning Gross Human Rights Violations and for the Dignity of Victims marked March 24, members of a Christian organization in Zimbabwe that promotes peace have expressed their displeasure at the tendency to politicize development agenda in the Southern African nation.

In a Wednesday, March 24 statement obtained by ACI Africa, officials of Churches Convergence on Conflict and Peace (CCCOP) note, “In working towards a just and peaceful community, it is a common trend that issues of development in most cases are politicized and hate-speech becomes the order of the day and goes on unabated.”

“We condemn such practices because they undermine the dignity of a person,” they say and add, “This violates in its entirety, the call by the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights which is premised on the will of the people, and their right to effective political participation.”

Human Rights “are also guaranteed in the gospel and other passages of the Bibles as the word of God upon which Christian values and the principles of the Social Teachings of the Church are based,” CCCOP representatives say.

In their two-page statement titled, “Finding Joy in the Truth,” members of the Church-based consortium who include representatives of the Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) of the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops' Conference (ZCBC) acknowledge the role of the Church as an “advocate for the best practices in peace and reconciliation processes.”


They underscore the role of truth in peace and reconciliation efforts saying such “creates the basis for reconciliation, by creating a conducive environment where both perpetrators and victims meet.” 

Truth “exposes the hidden matter concealed by those who usually use violence as an instrument of power, for example in politics,” they say, adding that truth “enables a clear flow of facts up to the final point – an essential movement from negative peace to positive peace.” 

CCCOP officials further say that truth “enables an understanding and appreciation of different truths and how they can be used to promote justice, as retributive or restorative.”

They add, “Truth seeking enables an understanding of trends in searching for the truth, reflecting on the coherence of facts and ideas, and later sets a precedent for future usages.”

As a way forward, representatives of the four-member entity invite all church entities in Zimbabwe “to reflect on their call and response to issues of truth and reconciliation and the challenges they encounter in searching for the truth in the event of violations of people's fundamental rights.”

More in Africa

They further note that by virtue of human life being protected by Section 48 and 51 of the 2013 Constitution of Zimbabwe, “the State and all its agencies are obliged to protect and promote human dignity.”

“In the event of failure to do so, the Church calls the Government to account for any act, which is ultra vires and calls the same government to guarantee the people protection and a speedy remedy towards the reparation of the damage suffered,” officials of the Zimbabwe-based entity say in their March 24 statement.

Proclaimed in December 2010 by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), the International Day for the Right to the Truth Concerning Gross Human Rights Violations and for the Dignity of Victims is celebrated annually in memory of the slain Archbishop of El Salvador’s Archdiocese of San Salvador, Saint Oscar Romero.

Known for denouncing human rights violations in the Central American nation, Archbishop Romero was assassinated on 24 March 1980 while celebrating the Eucharist at a Church-run hospital for the terminally ill in San Salvador.

In his message for the Day, UN’s Secretary General, Antonio Guterres says, “The truth is an empowering and healing force.  We embrace it for the past, the present and the future.”