The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has hailed the way in which Operation Restore Legacy was conducted and the peaceful transition it birthed.
The Zimbabwe Defence Forces conducted Operation Restore Legacy in November 2017 to arrest a deteriorating national security situation.
The operation resulted in Mr Robert Mugabe’s resignation and the inauguration of President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
In an interview with The Sunday Mail Society last week, Bishop Brett MacDonald said: “Operation Restore Legacy was a very peaceful protest which came at a time when many where anticipating violence and mass killings.”
He said this ahead of the first ever visit to Zimbabwe by Latter Day Saints President, Prophet Russell Nelson, on April 17, 2018.
Bishop McDonald said: “Many countries know of and some have even experienced protests characterised by violence and killings but Zimbabwe has taught the world a new type of protest that is non-violent and silent, therefore, nations should imitate such demonstrations.”
He said the Church was a vital stakeholder in national affairs.
“Zimbabwe is a largely Christian country and the Church has become a strategic actor in issues of national interest and should speak against violence, injustice, violation of human rights and uphold humanity.
“Political leaders should be accountable to the nation led by the Church, and religions at large as the mediators. The world should realise that mediation is now the way to go in order to achieve sovereign peace,” Bishop McDonald said.
He went on: “As we are moving towards a globalised world whereby politics, class struggles and protests have taken a new form, churches should be innovative and fit into all forms because they are now the backbone of the nation’s peaceful co-existence.
“All religions should also take heed because more than 95 percent in the world are affiliated to one religion or another and, therefore, if religions play their part, there will never be any violence in the world.
“Religions should be guided by spirit of universal harmony, respect for human life and the need to call for a common good in the nation and these should inform their response to various political occurrences in their countries.
“The relationship between church and politics should be one whereby the church guards against extremists in the name of politicians and this is what the Zimbabwean church did during Operation Restore Legacy and the mediation process was key to the entire operation.”
Bishop McDonald said religious leaders should play a leading role in opposing violence in the 2018 harmonised elections.
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