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CHURCHES have started lobbying for a parliamentary seat to have issues affecting their constituency debated.

The church representative organisations made the call in Bulawayo on Tuesday during a meeting between civic society organisations (CSOs) and Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda.

CSOs and the media were drawn from Matabeleland North, South and Bulawayo province.

Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC) representative, Samuel Mabvundu said the church was socially conscious and should be represented in Parliament.

"Over 80% of Zimbabweans are Christians and therefore there is need for representation in that regard. You find Christianity dominating in public gatherings while it is only the traditional leaders who are given room in Parliament," Mabvundu said.

"I think we also need representation from the Christianity side. We now need to change that mentality. Instead of the church standing up, we need to be there as it happens, rather than standing up later when things have fallen apart."

Another ZCC member only identified as Manjengwa said there was need for churches to have a seat in Parliament.

"My issue is on people who are represented in Parliament. You spoke of chiefs, the disabled, but there is no church representatives. Where are they? You never mentioned them? Is it that you do not want them to be represented in Parliament?" Manjengwa asked.

In response, Mudenda said if the church engages into politics, who would help people to turn away from sin?

"You cannot serve two masters. You either serve God or Caesar, but this is not to say you cannot be a politician. What you can do is appeal to the President that of those five ministers selected by the President, one of the reverends then becomes a minister," Mudenda said.

"When one becomes the minister, he then leaves the collar. Things will not fall apart when the church is not in Parliament. Things fall apart when the church is not praying for politicians. Every Sunday, congregants have to be reminded to stop sinning, so when you are in politics this then becomes difficult."

Mudenda said it was, however, possible for a pastor to become a politician as portrayed by the Malawian President Lazarus Chakwera.

Last week, Zanu-PF Harare women's league chairperson Betty Nhambu-Kaseke said there was need for the church to be fully incorporated into the National Development Strategy One launched by President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

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Chuka (Webby) Aniemeka
Chuka (Webby) Aniemeka

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