The Council of Swaziland Churches (CSC) is fully aware of the social, political and economic challenges that the country is currently going through. The lives of emaSwati are unfortunately negatively affected by all these challenges and we see different reactions from all sectors of society, including the violence that we see almost every day. We are seeing a new culture of mistrust and intolerance emerging where the use of violence to resolve disputes has become the order of the day.
During this time of Lent the church world over is reminded of the suffering and the death of our Lord Jesus who was sent by God to reconcile us with God. He had declared in Luke 4:18 that he had come to preach good news to the poor, proclaim the release of the captives and freedom of the oppressed. God’s intention when sending Christ was and still is that all his people have life in abundance (John 10:10). To this end, the Council of Swaziland Churches is always concerned about the wellbeing of all people created in the image of God. We are therefore expected to protect and promote the lives of our neighbors and to love God with all our hearts as instructed by Christ.
Whereas the Council of Swaziland Churches is concerned that:
1. Although we often refer to ourselves as a Christian country we are not promoting and protecting the lives of emaSwati. Instead we use Christianity when it suits us and to further our own interests, much against God’s commandment that we should not misuse the name of the Lord our God (Deuteronomy 5:11). For instance, the Christian fraternity was shocked last weekend to see an inscription of “Hallelujah” on alcohol containers. This vocab is known to be used in Christian worship and we believe it was misplaced on the containers.
2. The much talked about national dialogue is taking much too long to happen, yet it is key in resolving the country’s problems. As the Council we have always been calling for an all-inclusive dialogue that can take the country out of the current social and political crisis.
3. The continuing violence will lead to more violence and this includes the many arson attacks on property, mob justice, the use of excessive force and extra judicial killings by state security, verbal abuse and intimidation. The Council condemns all acts of violence regardless of who is behind them as violence always begets violence.
Now therefore the Council of Swaziland Churches;
1. Calls upon all Christians to uphold biblical values and principles that will promote justice and peaceful resolutions of conflicts. The CSC also encourages Christian to shun away from acts and statements that blaspheme against the Lord our God.
2. Calls upon the government of eSwatini and SADC to be transparent with the preparations for the national dialogue so that all stakeholders are free to participate. Transparency will also promote trust amongst the different stakeholders. The aggrieved emaSwati, in their different formations are also called upon to give dialogue a chance, with the hope that government will also find it prudent to meet with them.
3. Calls for the cessation of all hostilities by everyone – the pro-democracy movements and government agencies – to avoid further loss of lives and destruction to property.
The Council of Swaziland Churches is committed to work with all stakeholders in finding lasting solutions to our country’s challenges. This we shall do in a non-partisan manner where we shall represent the will of God and engage all sectors of society without fear or favor.
May the suffering of Christ remind all emaSwati of the sacrifices we need to make for the sake of others and may the resurrection of our Lord give us hope that whatever challenges we face in life we can overcome them. A blessed Holy Week and Happy Easter