Message on Zimbabwe Harmonised Elections

Dear sisters and brothers in Christ, All men and women of goodwill in Zimbabwe:

As the IMBISA Region, we write to you, the nation of Zimbabwe in collaboration with the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops Conference who is a member of our region IMBISA. We write this statement as the nation prepares for their harmonised elections on the 23rd of August 2023, a moment in our history that is very pivotal. The Government and its President have created new space for political activity, setting a new tone of freedom of speech, and promising free, fair, credible and undisputed elections under reformed electoral processes and institutions with access to international observers. At the same time however, other voices have raised concerns about the electoral reforms which they feel are not yet fully implemented. However, elections have always been occasions either of great hope and excitement or of fear and anger ending in disillusionment. It is true that elections are never, in themselves, the answers to problems but, as part of a wider programme of transformation, they can be moments of national recommitment.

Therefore, as a region we believe, we hope and we pray, that the coming elections of 23 August 2023 will be such a moment for us all. Genuinely free and fair elections will return constitutionality and the ‘will of the people’. All Zimbabweans must therefore put aside any fear and disillusionment of previous elections, meaning “let bygones be bygones” and prepare carefully for generous participation in the electoral process that is central to our democracy. We urge the Government and all the contesting parties, to create a social, political and economic climate that enhances moral integrity. We advocated for free and fair elections which would have local and international recognition. In doing so, we were aiming at building the three foundations of the Kingdom of God here on earth: a Kingdom of peace, love, and of justice and freedom.

As Christians, we understand our role of building the Kingdom of Heaven on earth, that is, of shaping the societies in which we live, work and pray and in which we raise our children, according to the values of the Gospel. Jesus proclaimed the Kingdom of God as God’s rule in human lives begun here on earth and completed in Heaven. The Kingdom Jesus speaks of is not just the afterlife but also an expression of how God wants the world to be and live (Mk. 4:26-34). All of this will come to nothing without prayer. We are at a new ‘Kairos moment’ , a moment of grace in the history of Zimbabwe. We call on all priests, religious and faithful; and on all women and men of good will to demonstrate our joint trust and confidence in God, and witness to our faith in his Son Jesus Christ our Lord by praying together with us. May God bless Zimbabwe with peaceful upcoming elections.
Yours in Christ,

+ Archbishop Liborius Ndumbukuti Nashenda, OMI
Archbishop of Windhoek, Namibia
President of IMBISA

11 August 2023