A critical assessment of the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace's contribution towards good governance in Zimbabwe from 1990-2000.
Zimbabwe and its controversial government, with Mugabe at the helm, has been a source of concern for Southern Africa, global politics and not least Zimbabweans themselves. Though Mugabe has presided over the country for more than three decades, there has been relentless criticisms of, and opposition to, his form of governance. Apart from caustic political opponents of Zimbabwe’s government, there has also been advocate groups or the civil society who have been intrepid critics of the government. One of the most influential civil organizations in Zimbabwe is the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church in Zimbabwe has a college of Bishops which gives the most formal and influential stance of the Church on Zimbabwean politics. One of the most effective advocacy channels used by the Catholic Church has been the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace in Zimbabwe (CCJPZ). This paper analyzes the role of the CCJPZ in trying to infuse political and moral rectitude in the Zimbabwean governance. Through the use of Antonio Gramsci’s theory of civil society, the paper analyses why the calls of the CCJPZ have remained largely unheeded by the Mugabe leadership. By this the paper further analyses whether certain tendencies that have rendered CCJPZ hamstrung or ignored are solely because of its own weakness, or the impervious nature of the Zimbabwe government to those it considers its wanton detractors and hypocrites. Gramsci talks of civil societies which can be pro-hegemony i.e. in tandem with the ruling class and one that is counter-hegemony i.e. at variance with the ruling class. The findings in this paper show that the CCJPZ has not abdicated its moral certitudes in support of the ruling class, hence it is counter-hegemony. The paper tries to explore how far-reaching the crusade for good governance, as championed by the CCJPZ has been. Despite being a Catholic group, the paper argues, the CCJPZ has to incorporate all Zimbabwean who are restive because of what is largely considered bad and violent governance. Only a wide-reaching crusade that does not include participants based on religious persuasion can give a more forceful voice against the form of governance that rules Zimbabwe. The key terms that underpin this study are: Civil society, State, Good governance, Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace.