C A extends network to all provinces

KADOMA - The Zimbabwe Christian Alliance launched a chapter of the organisation in Kadoma on Friday as part of a nationwide drive to establish Christian leaders' networks in the country's 10 provinces. More than 500 church

leaders and Christian lay people attended.
“The aim of establishing these networks is to create local Christian Alliance chapters to equip Christian leaders on church-based advocacy and peace building,” said a statement from the organisers.
The inaugural meeting, attended by about 1000 people, was disrupted by armed police who arrested eight C A executive members – Ray Motsi, Ancelom Magaya,(visually impaired) Gerald Mubaira, Zvizai Chiponda, Watson Mugabe, Lawrence Berejina, Jonah Gokova and Pius Wakatama. At the time of going to press they were still in custody awaiting trial.
The organisers had notified the police as required under the Public Order and Security Act (POSA) and several policemen were actually sitting in the hall.
At lunchtime a group of armed riot police arrived and the leaders of the meeting were taken into custody. The Christian Alliance comprises some 1500 churches so this was by no means an insignificant event. In fact it marks the first admission by the State that it is concerned about the activities of this grouping. It is the opening shot in what is going to be a drawn out struggle between the Church and the State over the way we are being governed.The state is alleging that they incited the crowd to violence, but the CA maintains this is “totally baseless as the C A exists to bring about peaceful social transformation in our beloved country”.
“The use of armed police to disrupt a religious meeting is a clear abuse of power and authority by the police,” says the C A. “The continued harassment of our leadership by state agents is cause for concern to the Christian community at large as this infringes on freedom of worship, expression and association.
“As Christian leaders no amount of intimidation will silence us as this would be tantamount to a denial of our faith and our calling .We condemn this latest act of wanton violation of fundamental human rights and disregard of freedom of religion. We demand that the government opens up democratic space and starts depoliticization and demilitarization of public institutions to enable a peaceful social transformation in Zimbabwe.” – Staff reporter

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