January 25, 2019
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ
Grace and peace to you in the Name of Jesus Christ, our Lord! He is the way, the truth and the life, and we pray that He will watch over you all and guide you at this time of renewed conflict and repression in Zimbabwe.
It is now becoming clear to us that the militarization of Zimbabwe and that the capture of key institutions is almost complete and that democratic gains are on a retreat. A government that randomly blocks people from communicating with others is not a good government that respects democracy.
To some extent, the repression and militarization in your country reflects a similar repressive situation into which Jesus was born and for which he supplied an alternative vision – the kingdom of God to come to earth as it is in heaven. This vision was to be realized within them – building a beloved community despite the existing conditions.
Oppressors will always want to induce fear in the populations, but for Christians, there is no fear in love. Fear will never have the last word, and it is important that the regime in Zimbabwe hears this message from the Churches. If this message is not articulated clearly by the churches, other forces will find ways of communicating this message in ways that are not always acceptable and therefore it is critical that the churches speak with clarity and boldness.
As Christians in a neighboring country and given our history and our role in Southern Africa, we want to assure the people of Zimbabwe not only of our prayers and concern, but also of our love for the freedom of the human spirit, which can never be permanently repressed.
We pray that you will be given the wisdom and courage to stand up against whatever repression may be meted out to you. Military dictators do not understand the language of love, so in the midst of the repression, we pray that you will proclaim and exercise this message amongst yourselves, to build up each other in faith, hope and love in order to stand.
We pray that those who have been unjustly detained (especially Brother Evan) will soon be released, that all communication channels will be opened and that the police will be demilitarized and become servants of the people.
May the words of St Paul encourage you at this time: “Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” (Ephesians 6: 13ff).
May the God of love watch over you at this time.
Rev. Moss Ntlha
Chairperson – SACLI