Churches in Zimbabwe launched on Friday a discussion document on the future of the nation. During the function attended by President Robert Mugabe at the Catholic University in Harare, the churches invited all citizens and friends of Zimbabwe to discuss the document, titled 'The Zimbabwe We Want.' The document is a product of a five-month joint effort by the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops Conference, Zimbabwe Council of Churches and the Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe. It addresses various issues affecting the southern African nation that is reeling under its worst economic and political crisis since independence in 1980. The document speaks on the need for a new constitution, national economic and social transformation, the land question and national reconciliation. The churches' vision of Zimbabwe is "a sovereign, inviolable and unitary member state of the international community; a nation that is democratic and characterized by good governance as reflected in all its structures, institutions and operations at all levels; a nation united in its diversity, free, tolerant, peaceful, and prosperous; a nation that respects the rights of all its citizens regardless of creed, gender, age, race and ethnicity as defined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and with a leadership that puts the interests of the people of Zimbabwe above all personal gains; a nation where all citizens enjoy equal protection of the law and have equal opportunity to compete and prosper; and above all a nation that is God- fearing." The churches said theirs was "a call to do collective reflection on our dire national situation and the toll that it is having on our economy, our quality of life, our families and the future of our children and of our nation. It is an attempt to inspire ourselves to draw lessons and nation building principles from our past mistakes so that we can envision a better and greater Zimbabwe the Zimbabwe we all want." A copy of the document was handed to President Mugabe. "This event was a historic moment in Zimbabwe, a moment when all the mainline Churches laid their doctrinal differences aside and spoke with one voice," said Conrad Chibango, communications secretary of the Catholic bishops, conference. However, mistrust and pessimism still reign in various sectors of the society of Zimbabwe, Chibango said. For instance, there was no visible representation from opposition parties, save for the leader of United People,s Party, Mr Daniel Shumba. Opposition parties still feel that the churches are being be used by the ruling party for its own agenda. Source: CISA
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