Churches Urge National Dialogue As Disaster Looms

By Mlondolozi Ndlovu

Harare, July 21, 2016 – CHURCH leaders have urged President Robert Mugabe’s administration to urgently address the country’s worsening economic crises to avoid what they said was impending civil unrest.

Speaking at a workshop organised for the media and Zimbabwean churches in Harare on Thursday, in the wake of the renewed tensions in the country, the Ecumerical Church Leaders Forum (E.C.L.F) pastors also urged the Zimbabweans leader to involve the church in a national dialogue to remedy the crisis.

Zimbabwe is in a deep economic abyss that has seen the government fail to pay civil servants on time due to government’s ever diminishing revenues caused by the continued closure of companies and the informalisation of the economy, among other reasons.

The situation ruptured few weeks ago when citizens in the border town of Beitbridge staged street demonstrations in protest over a government ban on certain imports which were traded locally by unemployed Zimbabweans.

The country has experienced a wave of similar protests in Harare, Bulawayo and Kwekwe recently.

The anti-government protests have been led by activist groups, prominent among them #ThisFlag pastor Evan Mawarire, #Tajamuka and #Beatthepot protestors.

Prominent businessman and pastor Shingi Munyeza has also joined the anti-government chorus as the local church begins to take a leading role in denouncing poor governance and corruption under the Zanu PF government.

“We may be facing a worse situation than it was in 2008,” said Bishop Ambroise Moyo, a member of ECLF while referring to the hyper inflationary period which also saw goods disappear from supermarket shelves.

“We need to harness resources on how we can influence development as leaders. As churches, we are concerned and alarmed by the events and the untold suffering of the masses,” said

The man of the cloth called on the government to allow dialogue around the issues affecting Zimbabwe.

“Let there be a national dialogue around issues affecting this country. I don’t know which ministers we have not talked to about the current problems affecting our country, we now demand audience with the man at the top himself,” he said.

Churches warned if no serious measures were taken immediately to address the Zimbabwean crisis, the situation can implode and trigger lawlessness.

“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 brutalised people.

The government should also urgently act and address these genuine concerns of the citizens to avoid total collapse of the State,” the church groups said.