They underline the need for accountable political leaders, who should also have the ability to lead the country on the path of economic prosperity, justice, and freedom.
“If important elections such as these become nothing but a power game, seeking to attain or retain power and nothing else to offer beyond this, then as a nation, we are lost and we are doomed,” ZCBC members say about the July 2023 general elections in which the incumbent, President. Emmerson Mnangagwa, is seeking a second term.
They highlight some of the challenges that Zimbabweans are facing, including poverty, destitution, insecurity, and unemployment, and say that some of them stem from “political violence fanned by the reckless utterances of the political leadership in its quest for power.”
“We can tolerate political differences and we can learn from each other what to add to our own political vision and how to market it without the shedding of blood,” Catholic Bishops in Zimbabwe say, adding, “Violence should never be a tool employed in politics.”
They continue, “We go to this important General Election to elect a leader that has a clear plan about how to put families first by creating good employment so as to lower the increased number of our poor people living in desperate situations of outright deprivation.”
In this election, the electorate in Zimbabwe “must bring to the highest office a leader who cares about the health of the excluded poor both young and old,” the Catholic Bishops say in their February 22 Lenten Pastoral Letter 2023.
ZCBC members go on to appreciate the milestones realized in various sectors in the country, saying, “The past attempts by our government building schools and universities, clinics and hospitals, and providing opportunities for the excluded in the public and private sector cannot go unacknowledged,” they say.
There is a need to build on the successes, and lament the fact that the altruistic approaches that led to the successes have been replaced by “a raw form of individualism seeking nothing but self-aggrandizement through corruption.”
“What is most worrisome is that such rampant corruption by known players is not being nipped in the bud by the responsible offices but is seemingly supported by those in power by their silence and inaction,” Catholic Bishops in Zimbabwe say.
They say they find it regrettable that some people in the Southern African nation are still “incarcerated for expressing their views”.