Emmanuel Hove Mhike
Women Christians have been encouraged to use their voices and votes to influence the political processes and outcomes, this came out during the Zimbabwe Council of Churches’ (ZCC) conversations of hope program held last week at Bilashaba Church of Christ, Ward 7 in Zvishavane.
Women Christians when they are rightly informed and motivated can change the character of the political debate. When they are given the platform they can bring the moral standards of God’s kingdom into the civic realm, this can result in them becoming agents of the grace of God in the political realm.
Even the late theologian Carl Henry believed that Christians, as citizens have a role “to work through civil authority for the advancement of justice and human good.” It is an important responsibility. After all, politics determines whether we are at war or peace. Politics affects the nation’s job supply, wealth creation and even property rights. Furthermore, politics also determines people’s freedom to speak, write and worship. The circumstances of family life including quality and content of publication also depend on government policy.
It only makes sense that women Christians should be at the forefront of selecting leaders who will govern according to God’s principles and will formulate policies more likely to bring God’s favor.
It is for this reason that ZCC Regional Coordinator Reverend Tariro Zhou bemoaned the low participation of women Christians in the political processes. Addressing women gathered at Bilashaba Rev Zhou said that there is nothing wrong with women Christians being involved in politics, while urging more women to take part in this important endeavor.
“Women especially Christians regard participation in politics as evil and ungodly. What they do not know is that their votes are their voices. This year, for example, during the March by elections we had a call for 70 observer vacancies but we only received and employ 5 females, the rest were males,” said Rev Zhou.
The refusal to participate in the electoral process is surprising considering that, when women Christians involve themselves in elections, they will “Give justice to the weak and the orphan; maintain the right of the lowly and destitute” (Psalm 82:3) and they can also “speak out for those who cannot speak…(and) defend the rights of the poor and needy (Proverbs 31:8-9).
Pastor Mandichiveyi Sakuhuni, further noted that only the unmarried and educated women have the guts to be involved in political dialogues, and political positions.
“Our societies are largely patriarchal, only those who are truly independent like us widows and single mothers can actively participate in political processes. Also those who went through tertiary education have the knowledge and confidence to participate,” said Pastor Sakuhuni.
Dhliwayo an officer from the Ministry of Women affairs, Zvishavane District said women are afraid of offices and they worship politicians who are largely male.
“Women lack self-esteem, there are afraid of offices. They treat male politicians with extraordinary respect as if they are their earthly gods” said Dhliwayo.
Low participation of women Christian in the political processes is worrisome. A research conducted by Padare men’s forum and Gender links indicated that women do not support other women who intend to contest for political positions and this also fuels political apathy among women.
Religious analyst Robert Kanengoni underscored the need for women Christians to be involved in politics not just as political figures but making sure that they cast the ballot. Through this he believe that women Christians can be involved in electing leaders that put justice in their hearts.
“As women Christians seek to care for God’s creation, they should involve themselves in electing wise and just leaders. Our country is built upon the perspective that we as the people are responsible for electing our own leaders, therefore women Christians should participate in the electoral processes and voting for leaders with hearts of justice,” he said.
The Zimbabwe Council of Churches is conducting conversations of hope workshops in rural Zvishavane encouraging women Christians to participate in the political processes and other issues that affect their everyday lives.