Zimbabwe church leaders warn of genocideJoanna Sugden and agencies
Violence in Zimbabwe will reach full-scale genocide if the international community doesn’t intervene, church leaders in the beleaguered country warned today.
In a joint statement, Catholic, Anglican and Evangelical church leaders warned that violence following the elections last month would turn to genocide of the same magnitude experienced in Rwanda if the world failed to act.
“We warn that if nothing is done to help the people of Zimbabwe from their predicament, we shall soon be witnessing genocide similar to that experienced in Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi and other hot spots in Africa and elsewhere,” the statement said.
“Organised violence perpetrated against individuals, families and communities who are accused of campaigning or voting for the ‘wrong’ political party... has been unleashed throughout the country”.
A recount of votes cast in elections on March 29 is under way, after President Robert Mugabe’s ruling Zanu (PF) party lodged legal objections in an apparent attempt to cling to power. The opposition party Movement for Democratic Change says that pro-Mugabe militias have killed 10 of its members and injured hundreds more since the elections. Zanu (PF) strongly deny the claims against them.
The church leaders’ statement made a direct appeal for the international community to come to Zimbabwe’s aid. “We appeal to the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the African Union and the United Nations to work towards arresting the deteriorating political and security situation in Zimbabwe,” they said.
The statement, which was signed by the Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops’ Conference and the Zimbabwe Council of Churches, called for an end to voter intimidation. It also said there was “widespread famine” in Zimbabwe’s countryside because basic goods were unavailable or too expensive. No medicines were available to treat people injured in the post-election violence they said.
In a separate statement the leaders of the Methodist and United Reformed churches in Zimbabwe condemned the “campaign of violence and intimidation” being waged by the ruling party against Zimbabweans.
Source: The Times (22/4)