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Catholic Bishops in Zimbabwe want “best interests of the nation” Prioritized

CANAA || By Father Don Bosco Onyalla, Nairobi || 20 November 2017

catholic bishops in zimbabwe on prioritizing citizens 2017The Catholic Bishops in Zimbabwe have expressed the need to have the best interests of the general citizens of Zimbabwe prioritized as the country goes through tense moments following the military takeover and the rising call for President Robert Mugabe to quit.

On Tuesday, November 14, the military leader in Zimbabwe, Constantino Chiwenga took to the state television declaring that the army was targeting “criminals around” President Mugabe, and that it was not a coup.

On Saturday, November 18, thousands of protestors flooded streets in Zimbabwe in peaceful demonstrations, calling for Mugabe’s resignation, which he seems to defy.

“We, your Shepherds, encourage those central to these delicate processes (particularly the Zimbabwe Defence Forces and the political leadership) that they maintain the best interests of the nation as a priority and continue to work tirelessly for a peaceful end to the crisis and to speedy return to normalcy and Constitutional order,” Catholic Bishops have stated in a statement published Sunday, November 19.

The Bishops recommend the preservation of lives saying that “all lives are precious” and “that peace, law and order be maintained especially in these most delicate times.”

The Church leaders “also implore all opinion leaders, all media, and the entire population to refrain from conduct and utterances that increase tension, engender hatred or inflame emotions.”

The Bishops have acknowledged the possibility of a transitional government in stating, “The governance of Zimbabwe in any transition that may be adopted must embrace all Zimbabweans in their diversity and their oneness.”

However, the Catholic Church leaders view a lasting solution in general elections.

“The nation needs to develop a culture of free and fair elections, referenda and consultations,” the Bishops state.

Below is the full text of the Bishops’ statement

REFLECTION AND RECOMMENDATIONS ON OUR CURRENT SITUATION IN ZIMBABWE

Pastoral Statement of the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops’ Conference Following the Ongoing Events Since Wednesday 15 November 2017

Published Sunday 19 November 2017

The Church has keenly and prayerfully followed the recent tense events in the country. The Church has also observed the increased economic hardship for ordinary Zimbabweans. The atmosphere has drastically deteriorated culminating in the current intervention by the Zimbabwe Defence Forces. Let us pray for our country as we continue to watch developments carefully.

We, your Shepherds, encourage those central to these delicate processes (particularly the Zimbabwe Defence Forces and the political leadership) that they maintain the best interests of the nation as a priority and continue to work tirelessly for a peaceful end to the crisis and to speedy return to normalcy and Constitutional order.

Let us be mindful of the fact that besides those who took action and those involved in the ongoing delicate process the entire population is concerned about the process as well as the future of the country. Beyond this crisis a sustainable normalisation of Zimbabwe can only be achieved through a people inclusive and participatory process in a democratic way. The governance of Zimbabwe in any transition that may be adopted must embrace all Zimbabweans in their diversity and their oneness. The nation needs to develop a culture of free and fair elections, referenda and consultations.

All life is precious. The preservation of lives must be paramount and for that, it is essential that peace, law and order be maintained especially in these most delicate times. We ask that everyone exercises great restraint and patience in these tense times and that the people refrain from all lawlessness or any mass action that might worsen the situation.

We also implore all opinion leaders, all media, and the entire population to refrain from conduct and utterances that increase tension, engender hatred or inflame emotions. We discourage sensationalism, false news and all forms of hate media as these pose a grave danger to the peacefulness of the ongoing process and sustainability of peace.

Let us take note that those accused of crimes must at all times be accorded due process and protection of the law and that the role of the Civil Courts as independent arbiters continues unhindered as per the Constitution and as promised by the Zimbabwe Defence Forces.

Let us as one family continue to pray for a peaceful and just outcome to the present situation in our country. Let us join in daily prayers for our nation individually and collectively.

+Michael D. Bhasera, Bishop of Masvingo and Apostolic Administrator of Gweru (ZCBC President)

+Robert C. Ndlovu, Archbishop of Harare and Apostolic Administrator of Chinhoyi (ZCBC Vice President)

+Alex Thomas, Archbishop of Bulawayo (ZCBC Secretary/Treasurer)

+Albert Serrano, Bishop of Hwange

+Paul Horan, Bishop of Mutare

+Rudolf Nyandoro, Bishop of Gokwe

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