By Staff Reporter
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa and MDC Alliance presidential candidate Nelson Chamisa snubbed Thursday a Catholic Church initiative meant to foster peace among contestants in this month’s election.
Chamisa, in particular, had reportedly confirmed his attendance at the event which was convened by Catholic run Silveira House.
“He confirmed and, as for President Mnangagwa, we had emissaries negotiating with him up to late last night.
“He however, indicated he was committed elsewhere,” said a Church source who declined to be identified said.
Mnangagwa, who has been attending apostolic sect gatherings canvassing for votes, was due in Kadoma for his latest campaign stop.
Chamisa’s spokesman told journalists that the MDC Alliance leaders had pre-scheduled campaign rallies in Kariba and Karoi and could, thus, not attend the Harare event.
In attendance however, were MDC-T vice president Obert Gutu representing Thokozani Khupe, the Rainbow Coalition’s Joice Mujuru, former Cabinet minister Nkosana Moyo along with other fringe party leaders.
The Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops Conference (ZCBC) and the Zimbabwe Council of Churches along with the Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe had not issued an official position on the issue.
In his opening remarks, the secretary general of the ZCBC, Father Fredrick Chiromba, the elections will offer Zimbabwe a chance to renew itself.
“While acknowledging that elections are never themselves the answer to problems, the Bishops see the forthcoming elections as offering an opportunity for the country to open a new door.
“As part of a wider program of transformation elections can be moments of national recommitment,” the cleric said.
Most of the political violence associated with Zimbabwe’s elections is attributed to intra-party clashes between the MDC Alliance and Zanu PF.