The Anglican bishops, meeting in Bulawayo for the consecration of Bishop Cleophas Lunga on Sunday 1 March 2009, issued the following statement. It deserves wider acknowledgement, so I publish it here.

welcome-to-zimbabweStatement on the Government of National Unity by the Bishops of the Church of the Province of Central Africa at the Consecration of the Right Reverend Cleophas Lunga as Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Matabeleland on the 1st Sunday of Lent 1st March 2009 at the Parish Church of St Columbus, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe

We the Bishops of the Province of Central Africa in holding and believing that all people are created equal in the image of God and that God wills his people to live their lives to its full potential abundantly, cautiously welcome the formation of the Government of National Unity in Zimbabwe.

This development comes after a long period of political polarisation which created immense suffering of the people. However we are concerned about the continued detention of some political and human rights activists which is indicative of business as usual contrary to the spirit and objectives of Global Agreement. The continued detention of the activists is not conducive to the spirit of reconciliation and to the promotion of peace and justice. Justice delayed is justice denied.

The Bishops of this Province urge the political leaders in this formation to put the interests of the people and the development of the nation in the fore. The leaders of the Government of National Unity should think profoundly and reflectively on the past weaknesses such as corruption, patronage, selfishness and regionalism and avoid them by dedicating themselves to the promotion of the rule of law, respect of human rights and good governance.

The bishops pray that the parties involved will faithfully commit themselves to the fulfilment and spirit of the objectives enshrined in the Global Agreement. This demands a high level of transparency and consultation for all parties involved.

We urge our people to play an active role in the success of the Government of National Unity by fervent prayer and safeguarding the gospel values of love, peace and righteousness. We further ask our people to genuinely reconcile themselves to one another and above to our God of peace and justice.

God bless Africa

God bless Zimbabwe

Guard her children

Guide her leaders

Give her peace for Jesus Christ’s sake

Bishop Ishmael Mukuwanda (President of the Service), Central Zimbabwe Bishop Godfrey Tawonezvi (ACZ Chairman), Masvingo Bishop Sebastian Bakare, Harare CPCA Bishop Peter Hatendi, Manicaland CPCA Bishop Trevor Mwamba, Botswana Bishop Robert Mumbi (ZAC Presiding Bishop), Luapula Bishop Derek Kamukwamba, Central Zambia Bishop David Njovu, Lusaka Bishop William Mchombo (Acting Provincial Secretary), Eastern Zambia