HARARE JULY 19 2016(CISA)-Church leaders in Zimbabwe have called on the government to “listen to the cries of its suffering citizens, warning that their grievances could soon explode into civil unrest if not addressed.”
“We call upon our Government to listen to the cries of citizens whose cries and sufferings are loud and clear. There is need to act justly and mercifully on behalf of the poor and disadvantaged in our nation,” said the church leaders.
The Church leaders including the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops Conference, the Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwe Council of churches and the Student Christian Movement of Zimbabwe criticized the politicking of “people’s genuine grievances” and the harassment of churches and their leaders.
In a July 14 statement, the leaders condemned the brutality of police officers treatment of protesters in demonstrations against severe economic conditions and noted their concern at the arrest of Pastor Evan Mawarire and the intimidation of other church leaders.
“speaking on behalf of powerless people.” On July 13, a Harare court freed Mawarire, who organized the largest national stay-away strike in nearly a decade; the court ruled that police violated his rights. “We raise concern on growing harassment and arrests of religious leaders, such as the recent arrest of Pastor Evan Mawarire, and also the intimidation to other pastors speaking on behalf of powerless people. These grievances must be viewed as the early warning signs which indicate underlying and simmering tensions that will soon explode into civil unrest if not addressed. We call upon the Government to immediately investigate and prosecute law enforcement agents that are alleged to have been involved in this,” said the church leaders.
The clerics said among other problems the need urgent attention are the collapse of companies-partially or wholly-owned by the government-because of rampant corruption and high levels of unaccountability and impunity.”