Caritas Masvingo spearheads agro-ecology in Gutu and Bikita

Tatenda Mqetu

Agro-ecology is recommended as the most rewarding exercise especially for farmers in areas where rainfall is erratic.

Caritas Masvingo is spearheading the adoption of agro-ecology methods by peasant farmers ahead of the 2019/20 season with the promotion of small grains and traditional seed varieties as they foresee food security for their communities.

According to Caritas Masvingo Diocese Baseline Data, there is a remarkable improvement in the percentages as 70% of farmers in Bikita and Gutu have embraced the agro-ecological approach towards farming through the Equitable Access to and Use of Natural Resources Programme.

Caritas Masvingo encourages communities of Bikita and Gutu to plant small grain crops that can survive in low rainfall areas.

The Sustainable Livelihoods programme which increases yields while reducing environmental degradation has proved to be successful through resuscitation of lost traditional seed varieties (svoboda, orange maize, chinyamugage and munyadzagudo), solar water system, use of natural remedies which provides better solution in fighting armyworm (the use of cow urine, fine sand and yellow bitter apple/Nhundurwa) and a decrease in use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides.

Caritas Masvingo Coordinator Oppah Rukara appreciated the efforts being made in the Equitable Access to and Use of Natural Resources Programme and acknowledges that there is looming food insecurity which is a result of two extreme weather conditions experienced as a result of El-Nino and Cyclone Idai.

CCJP Masvingo commissions Chipezeze bridge as part of conflict resolution initiative in Zaka

Tatenda Mqetu

The picture shows the official opening of Chipezeze Bridge in Zaka under the conflict management and mitigation project entitled ‘Shaping Our World (SOW)’.

The Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) Masvingo recently commissioned Chipezeze Bridge in Zaka District through the conflict management and mitigation project entitled ‘Shaping Our World (SOW)’ which later on transformed to ‘Re-Shaping Our World (Re-SOW)’.  

Zaka District Development Coordinator (formerly DA) Ndeya Nyede officially commissioned the bridge in the presence of Zaka Rural District Council (ZRDC) Engineer William Chikwanda and other key stakeholders of the community such as the Ward Councillor Peter Imbayarwo, local CCJP Peace Committee, traditional leaders, ZRDC and the villagers of Chipezeze community.

Re-SOW has created conflict education awareness through trainings and engagement platforms in target communities on how to peacefully resolve conflicts thanks to the financial support from the Catholic Relief Services (CRS) facilitated by ‘Collaborative projects for the common good’ to ensure sustainability of projects.

CCJP Masvingo assisted the construction of a low lying bridge with seventy bags of cement and three wheelbarrows as a way to support collaboration which Chipezeze, Mvarume and Masaga communities wished to have for a very long time.

The Non-Governmental Organization noted that of the potential 21 target communities that the Re-SOW project was focusing on, only 8 managed to receive assistance after a tightly contested bidding process where the communities were asked to develop project proposals.

Zaka District Development Coordinator, Nyede also appreciated the project noting that developmental aid is sustainable as it helps the communities to grow.

“What is important is development. I am particularly happy about this project because it is a permanent development.” said Coordinator Nyede.

Ward Councillor Peter Imbayarwo also appreciated how the project managed to unite people of Chipezeze, Mvarume and Masaga communities.

“I am very happy because this bridge is not for one person. It’s not for two people, but it’s for everyone.” said Councillor Imbayarwo.    

The End Does Not Justify The Means

Pastoral Statement of the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops’ Conference on current affairs in the country

Published on 11 September 2019

Dear sisters and brothers in Christ, all men and women of good will,


(1) On the morning of Friday 6 September 2019, we woke up to the sad news of the death of former President of Zimbabwe, Robert Gabriel Mugabe. We extend our condolences to his immediate and extended family, the government of Zimbabwe and all the bereaved. May his soul rest in eternal peace. 

The End Does Not Justify the Means

Robert Mugabe with his first wife, Sally Hayfron, on their wedding day, April 1961.

(2) As the day unfolded on Friday 6 September 2019, condolence messages began to pour in highlighting the many good qualities of the late former President. Some dwelt on his broad education and others on his achievements from the liberation struggle to State House as a principled person, liberator, his empowerment of the black majority, pan-Africanist, etc. We, the Bishops of the Catholic Church in Zimbabwe, agree with most of these attributes but they also raise a key question, ‘What went wrong?’ The intentions and the objectives were good but the manner of achieving them raised a number of ethical questions. This is where we, as a country, went wrong and continue to go wrong to this day. The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches as follows:

“1757 The object, the intention, and the circumstances make up the three “sources” of the morality of human acts. 

  1. The object chosen morally specifies the act of willing accordingly as reason recognizes and judges it good or evil. 
  2. “An evil action cannot be justified by reference to a good intention” (cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, Dec. praec. 6). The end does not justify the means. 
  3. A morally good act requires the goodness of its object, of its end, and of its circumstances together. 
  4. There are concrete acts that it is always wrong to choose, because their choice entails a disorder of the will, i.e., a moral evil. One may not do evil so that good may result from it.”

(3) The liberation struggle was a last resort, after all attempts at dialogue and inclusion had failed. Violence can never be the first option. “ZANU haizombofa yakatsveta zvombo pasi” (ZANU will never lay down arms), as the popular saying we hear so often goes, should not mean we resort to arms and violence as the first option in any situation of conflict including the announcements for demonstrations. We believe engagement and dialogue will bring about the desired transformation of our nation. We are deeply concerned about the reported nocturnal visits by unknown masked men, beatings, torture, sexual assaults, abductions, harassment of dissenting voices and violent repression of demonstrations by Police. Such acts contradict the positive narrative of Zimbabwe’s Second Republic, have no place in a democratic society and there should be no impunity for those who commit these crimes. The end, in this case the purported peace, does not justify the means.


(4)  The main purpose of sanctions and embargoes is to influence the behaviour of the

Related image
The intentions and the objectives were good but the manner of achieving them raised a number of ethical questions.

target country’s government, individuals or groups in the hope that will improve the situation in that country. Zimbabwe has endured the burden of sanctions for long. The impact of the adverse effects of sanctions is still being studied but over the past twenty years, given the number of people who have died from lack of adequate medicines, food, maternal deaths, etc., one can only conclude that the impact has been devastating. As an integral part of the comprehensive and inclusive dialogue we advocate for our country as Bishops of the Catholic Church, Zimbabweans, particularly our leaders, should address the imperatives that spawned sanctions on our country in the first place and genuinely implement reforms that the international community is calling for and to which our Government has expressed commitment. The common good and welfare of our people should spur our leaders to go beyond politicking and belligerence and thus give credence to Government’s call for reengagement, re-engagement which should in the first instance be experienced broadly among ourselves as Zimbabweans and in the second instance, as a united people, with the international community.

Corruption is Zimbabwe’s worst enemy that the current government should crack down on.

Corruption has greatly exacerbated the impact of sanctions on our country. Let us all unite to fight corruption, which is robing our nation of its future.

The Land

(5) One wonders for how long our land must remain in dispute. Sanctions were mainly imposed because of the fast-track land reforms that were done in Zimbabwe, not because the main political parties do not get along, etc. All the stakeholders, both local and international, need to speak the truth in charity, address the real issues and not hide behind a finger.

In the Ecumenical Document, The Zimbabwe We Want, we called for the finalization of the land question and made some recommendations saying:

“. . . the land question has been the most emotive national question

that has left our nation highly polarised. Now is the time to galvanize all our energies to bring finality to this vexatious issue in a manner that heals the wounds of the past . . . years. Now also is the time for the Government to show magnanimity by extending its hand in reaching out to all its citizens, regardless of political affiliation, race, gender or ethnicity to seek consensus on the way forward.

As a start, there is general recognition that the current reforms are irreversible but what is required is developing a national consensus on how best to address the outstanding issues and correct the imperfections in the land redistribution process to the benefit of all citizens who want to build their future on the land as well as to the benefit of our national economy. Our vision ought to be guided by the principle that there should be no winners and losers but rather we should all come out of this experience as winners.” (The Zimbabwe We Want: 2006). Zimbabwe needs a broad inclusive dialogue to resolve its historical contentious issues. The Churches are prepared to mediate as impartial and honest brokers.


(6) We have also witnessed xenophobic attacks in South Africa in recent times. One can understand the plight of the poor in South Africa in the same way one understands the plight of the poor all over the African continent. However, to them we also say, ‘The end does not justify the means.’ Xenophobic attacks on fellow Africans are not the answer. Spurred by a variety of reasons, among them economic and political security, immigration is as old as the history of mankind. We urge those inclined towards Xenophobia in South Africa and elsewhere to heed God’s call through the Prophet Jeremiah when he says:

“Thus says the Lord: Do justice and righteousness, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor him who has been robbed. And do no wrong or violence to the resident alien… nor shed innocent blood in this place” (Jeremiah 22:3)

And to be reminded as the Israelites were reminded in the book of Exodus: “You shall not wrong a sojourner or oppress him, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt…” (Exodus 22: 21-22)


(7) In 2013 Zimbabwe produced a National Constitution that received the approval of all Zimbabweans, an indicator that the Constitution mirrors the aggregated will and shared aspiration of the people of Zimbabwe. We should all commit to abiding by the Constitution of Zimbabwe, rule of law, freedom of speech and protection of human rights. Our

Constitution and our laws provide us with the means of achieving our national goals without resorting to any form of violence. Never again should our good intentions be undermined by bad execution when we have all the legal tools to realize the Zimbabwe We All Want. 


(8) We therefore request all Zimbabweans to turn their swords into ploughshares and unite in building the Zimbabwe we all want. We particularly request:

  • Security Forces to refrain from heavy handedness in restraining unarmed civilians;
  • The Zimbabwe Republic Police to investigate all cases of torture, abductions and wanton beatings and bring the perpetrators to trial;
  • The Executive and Legislature to enforce, supervise and oversee impartial implementation of the Constitution;   
  • The Zimbabwean government to listen to and address the real needs and grievances of people. The use of force to suppress dissent is unconstitutional and unsustainable;
  • We call on all leaders to stop corruption and call on all people to expose corrupt practices at every place. Corruption may have destroyed the country even more than sanctions.
  • The Zimbabwe Heads of Christian Denominations (ZHOCD) and other Churches to convene and facilitate National Days of Prayer. Our Nation needs God.


We call for genuine dialogue at various levels of society, apart from the political dialogue. It is only in genuine meeting of hearts that we can tolerate each other and have a lasting solution to our problems. Dialogue is the only way to realize our good intentions. We need as in 2008 a political dialogue which will settle the impasse that has reduced our country to two warring camps. President R. G. Mugabe has also left us a legacy of political dialogue. If he could talk to Mr. M. Tsvangirai and come to a settlement, surely the successors of these opponents, for the good of the nation, can do the same. The Churches are ready to facilitate such dialogue.

It was also the late former President, Robert Gabriel Mugabe, who launched the Zimbabwe We Want Discussion Document in 2006 at the Catholic University in Zimbabwe. We would like to conclude by asserting that, as illustrated in Zimbabwe We Want Discussion Document, we believe the need for:

  • A shared national vision;
  • Political tolerance;
  • National healing and reconciliation;
  • Implementation of the constitution;
  • Eliminating corruption and  
  • Addressing land and economic challenges.

May the God Almighty bless the nation of Zimbabwe and grant it courage to build a Zimbabwe that is free, tolerant, peaceful, prosperous and God fearing.

God bless you all.

+Robert C. Ndlovu, Archbishop of Harare         (ZCBC President)

+Alex Thomas, Archbishop of Bulawayo            (ZCBC Vice President)

+Paul Horan, Bishop of Mutare                (ZCBC Secretary/Treasurer)

+Michael D. Bhasera, Bishop of Masvingo & Pontifical Administrator of Gweru

+Albert Serrano, Bishop of Hwange

+Rudolf Nyandoro, Bishop of Gokwe         

+Raymond Mupandasekwa, Bishop of Chinhoyi

SIGNIS-Africa brings home integral human development for the youth

By Br. Alfonce Kugwa in Ethiopia

Delegates to the SIGNIS-Africa Congress and Assembly in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia pose for a group photo at a the HUB Hotel

The digital media should be at the service of integral human development especially that of the youth in Africa who are the majority of the population in the continent. This was raised at the SIGNIS-Africa General Congress and Assembly held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from 3 – 7 September under the theme, The African Youth in the Digital World; Promoting Creativity for Integral Development. The digital age brings a lot of opportunities and challenges and the youth need to be guided in their interaction with everchanging media technologies so that they use them to better their life through improved creativity, sharing faith and finding solutions to socio-economic and political problems in the world.

In his opening remarks to delegates at the SIGNIS Congress, His Eminence, Cardinal Souraphiel Berhaneyesus applauded Church communicators in Africa for taking time to evaluate how the media can be used to improve the life of the youth in a continent riddled with conflict and poverty. He said the youth tend to be more confused if they are not guided in their use of digital media.

Cardinal Berhaneyesus D. Souraphierl giving an interview to journalists during the SIGNIS-Africa Congress in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

“The youth around the world are confused because of technology and the youth of Africa are more prone to confusion in their use of digital media and the church need to help and guide them,” said Cardinal Berhaneyesus, emphasizing that Catholic media professionals have the responsibility of forming the conscience of society for integral human development.

Cardinal Yesus stressed that if the youth are properly guided in their interaction with the media, they will come up with new solutions to some current and old problems that bedevil Africa. He said the youth are creative, possible agents and artisans of their destiny.

Bishop Lisane Chiristos challenged Catholic media practitioners to use the media to bring he grace of God by making them instruments of evangelization. He said there cannot be evangelization without communication and that communication is not just another activity of the Church but is at the centre of the Church’s mission and life. Bishop Chiristos pointed out that the new media has given the Church in Africa opportunities of preaching the Gospel widely and directly.

“Without communication, there can never be evangelization. Bringing communication professionals together gives confidence that the Gospel will be communicated to all nations,” he said.

Integral human development is about the struggle against hunger, poverty, unemployment, corruption and political strife at all levels of society. The involvement of the youth in the digital media will open up more avenues for dealing with these problems, promote transparency, demand accountability and introduce new ways of production of goods and services.

His Eminence, Cardinal Berhaneyesus D. Souraphierl, Metropolitan Archbishop of Addis Ababa and President of CBCE flanked by SIGNIS Officials including Ms. Helen Osman, President for SIGNIS World.

In a speech delivered on his behalf, Cardinal Peter Turkson, Prefect of the Dicastery for Integral Human Development in the Vatican, linked integral human development to the protection of the environment and equal distribution of resources paying attention to the needs of the youth and children. Cardinal Turkson called for promotion of creativity by the youth so that they bring change to the welfare of humanity.

He said: “Young people can contribute to the conviviality that cuts across borders of language, race and politics. They can breathe new life in every situation by their creativity and new ways of looking at things. Africa must be developed by young people.”

The SIGNIS-Africa President, Fr. Walter Ihejirika from Nigeria affirmed that the congress aimed at creating practical pathways for promoting the welfare of youth and children in the changing digital world. He stressed the need of building SIGNIS- Africa into a strong communication association capable of addressing communication challenges in Africa for purposes of empowering the youth. He acknowledged the presence of the leadership of the Church in Africa as an eloquent testimony of the premium which the church places on communication.

Delegates to SIGNIS-Africa Congress and Assembly at the AU Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Ms. Helen Osman who is the World SIGNIS President called for digital citizenship and urged Catholic journalists to punctuate their work with faith and not fake news. She said the church was facing a crisis of credibility at different levels and the church media should help create spaces of witness though digital media.

President of SIGNIS World, Ms. Helen Osman addressing the SIGNIS Congress and Assembly delegates in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

“The purpose of the Catholic media is to inform and form public opinion in line with the Gospel. Catholic communicators should establish platforms of honest dialogue through the digital media,” Osman said.

Osman called on Catholic journalists to challenge the church to be accountable and transparent in its representation of Christ.

Bishop Moses Hamungole buttressed the objectives of the congress by calling for serious pastoral formation of Catholic journalists for the care of children and young people in Africa. He stressed that without proper training and formation of journalists on taking care of children and the youth, they cannot fulfil their mandate in protecting the interests of children.

According to Bishop Hamungole, the functions of the media are connected to the socialization of children. Therefore, pastoral formation of journalists helps them to pay attention to the needs of children.

Bishop Moses Hamungole stressing the importance of formation of Catholic journalists for the protection of young children.

The Congress also addressed issues to do with technological and cultural means in combating cybercrime in Africa, harnessing ICT in youth development and the role of SIGNIS Services Rome in the digital development of African youths. All member countries were encouraged to improve the structure and visibility of SIGNIS at local, national and regional level.