Original Research

A reflection on the clergys’ engagement in politics in light of the Methodist Church in Zimbabwe

Peter Masvotore
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 44, No 1 | a2751 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v44i1.2751 | © 2023 Peter Masvotore | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 05 October 2022 | Published: 20 March 2023

About the author(s)

Peter Masvotore, Institute for Theology and Religion, Faculty of Human Sciences, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa


The overarching rapport between clergy and politics goes back to biblical times. The clergy used their civic politicking as a catalytic agent to influence rules and plans on all tiers of the country. Historically, clergy such as Martin Luther King Jr. and others were active and involved in the civil rights movement during the 1960s. In the context of Zimbabwean struggle for independence, the clergy unlocked their cathedrals and house of worship for strategy and forecasting meetings for additional political reasons. This study draws on various forms of data that include a content analysis of existing publications both electronic and archival sources to demonstrate the relationship between the clergy and politics. Using a theological reflection theory, the study further analyses the reasons for the engagement or disengagement of the clergy in politics. The initial outcomes of this study add weight to the understanding that from the beginning of the armed struggle, Zimbabwean clergy were actively participating in politics. These discoveries have major implications for the role religion plays in the political development of Zimbabwe.

Intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications: The engagement or disengagement of the clergy in politics could assist the churches to self-introspect and be informed that they are inseparable from politics to shoulder the weight, pain and problems of the people they serve. This is informed by the discipline of theology, political theology, political science and sociology.


clergy; disengagement; engagement; Methodist Church in Zimbabwe; politics; theological reflection.


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