By Robert Tapfumaneyi
CHURCH leaders under the Zimbabwe Head of Christian Denominations (ZHOCD) have pleaded with President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his political foe MDC leader Nelson Chamisa to meet and dialogue for the good of the country.
ZHOCD secretary general Reverend Kenneth Mtata told NewZimbabwec.om on the sidelines of a meeting of clerics in Chinhoyi last week that calls for demonstration by the opposition are a sign all is not well and the political leadership in the country must take heed.
“To this end, church leaders exhort his Excellency, President Emmerson Mnangagwa and the leader of the MDC, Advocate Nelson Chamisa to explore the possibility of accelerating much needed dialogue in this time of deepening national division and despair,” said Mtata
With Chamisa’s MDC having already given notice of a demonstration on August 16th, Mtata said the Church has become increasingly worried of a possible deterioration of the situation as each day passes without a proper solution.
“The church leaders are deeply worried by the invocation in some quarters of the violence of August 2018 and January 2019 to sow fear and deepen political polarisation amongst our people ,” said Mtata.
Six people were gunned down by the army on August 1st last year after protests broke out over delays in the release of presidential elections results.
In January this year, violence broke out across the country after Mnangagwa announced a 150% fuel price hike.
While recognising the rights of citizens to petition and demonstrate, Mtata said organisers have a responsibility to keep such events within the confines of the law.
“We would want to recognise both the citizens’ constitutional right to demonstrate peacefully as well as the state’s constitutional responsibility to maintain law and order within the confines of the law.
“The fact some Zimbabweans feel compelled to the streets to demonstrate to voice their concerns evinces the need for broad comprehensive dialogue process towards the resolution of urgent and long-term challenges undermining unity, trust and patriotism,” the cleric said.