Church, civic leaders urge govt to end violence

war_vets2HARARE Zimbabwes church and civil society leaders have urged the inclusive government have urged the unity government to act to end political violence that is on the rise across the country. (Pictured: War Veterans Accused of reigniting political violence across the country)

The Zimbabwe Christian Alliance, Zimbabwe Council of Churches in consultation with key civic society organisations including the Crisis Coalition of Zimbabwe, National Association of Non Governmental Organisations, said in a statement that the country’s environment was deteriorating in the run-up to public hearings on a new constitution scheduled to start on June 15.

The Zimbabwe Election Support Network, Zimbabwe Peace Project, A.E.A and the Lutheran Development Services were also among the civil and church groups that called for an end to political violence that critics blame on war veterans and supporters of President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu (PF) party.

“The political violence and intimidation which had been contained, to a certain extent, by the coming in of the inclusive government is now resurfacing especially in Mashonaland Central, Masvingo and Manicaland through structures created in the run up to the 2008 presidential elections,” the groups said.

The violence – which many say is led by youth militia and liberation war veterans loyal to Mugabe – has severely disrupted school, hospital and farming operations across the country and created widespread fear, they said.

The leaders also bemoaned the seven-month delay in the constitution making process and what they said was apparent lack of commitment and transparency in the selection of the outreach teams, the rapporteurs and the development of the talking points.

Zimbabweans hope a new charter, replacing one inked in 1979 before independence from Britain, will strengthen the role of parliament and curtail the president’s powers, as well as guaranteeing civil liberties and political and media freedom.

The church leaders also bemoaned the “failure of the organ for national healing and integration to function effectively in a tension ridden country.”

Church leaders urged political leaders to apply political will to ensure the full implementation of the global political agreement (GPA).

Significantly, the clergy urged leaders to respect the God given basic rights of citizens, the security and dignity of persons in the country.

“There is need to dismantle all structures that perpetuate political violence,” the communiqu said. “There is also need to reform the security sector as a critical component of creating a peaceful transition.”

Critics says Mugabe the only ruler Zimbabweans have ever known since independence from Briatin in 1980 — has reduced the country’s police and armed forces into an extension of his ruling Zanu (PF) party. The government and the police deny the charge.

Post published in: Politics

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