Churches Call For Tolerance Ahead Of #July31 Protests

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By Staff Reporter

THE LOCAL church leadership has implored the government to allow citizens to freely express themselves, in terms of the constitution without being subjected to State-sponsored harassment.

This comes at a time Zimbabwe’s security forces are plotting a vicious clampdown on participants of the planned #July31 nationwide protests, whose main organiser, opposition Transform Zimbabwe president, Jacob Ngarivhume is languishing in remand prison facing charges of inciting public violence.

Also in remand prison is journalist Hopewell Chin’ono, facing similar charges.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa has also never shied from using brute force to quell dissent.

However, the Evangelical Fellowship Zimbabwe (EFZ), in a statement Monday, called on government to allow citizens to freely exercise their rights as enshrined in the country’s Constitution.

“The church appealed to the government of the day to create an enabling environment for the peaceful exercise of the citizens’ rights to express themselves as enshrined in the Constitution of Zimbabwe,” the EFZ said.

The EFZ is a conglomeration of Pentecostal churches.

It further challenged the government to seek and promote national dialogue towards resolving the current political and economic crisis whilst prioritising the welfare of the people and interests of the nation in its decisions and actions.

The churches also accused the government of not putting enough effort into the fight against corruption as the State was not fully investigating the cases before the courts.

“We note the effort by the President towards stamping out corruption and curbing abuse of office, as seen by taking action on ministers found wanting for one reason or the other. We, however, believe this is just a scratch on the surface; more can still be done to root out the endemic corruption. There is a need to heighten the demonstration of heroic resistance to greed, corruption, nepotism, violence and all manner of inclinations towards evil,” it said.

The EFZ also raised alarm over how the government was handling public health workers’ concerns when Covid-19 cases were on the rise.

“We are appalled by the way the government is treating health service workers whilst we are having a spike in Covid-19 infections. We urge the government to show leadership to resolve the impasse with nurses,” it said.

Nurses and junior doctors at public health centres have been engaging in industrial action since early this month protesting against poor working conditions and salaries.