Churches pin hope on SA envoys  

Sindiso Mhlophe
THE Zimbabwe Heads of Christian Denominations (ZHOCD) have expressed hope that the visiting South Africa envoys will catalyse the beginning of an inclusive national dialogue, the Daily News reports.
This comes after South African President Cyril Ramaphosa last Thursday announced that he had appointed former South African vice president and Speaker of Parliament, Baleka Mbete, as well as former cabinet minister Sydney Mufamandi as his special envoys to Harare “to identify possible ways in which South Africa can assist Zimbabwe”.
The envoys arrived in the country on Sunday.
“The churches have always and will reiterate that…issues are only manifestations or symptoms of systemic challenges of inadequate humanitarian preparedness, failure to find mutually acceptable closure of the hurts of the past, failure of the entrenchment of constitutionalism and the rule of law, the breakdown of social contract characterised by cartel-controlled and corruption-infested exclusive economy and continued international isolation of Zimbabwe.
“As the church, we have insisted that these issues need urgent attention. We are convinced that a comprehensive national settlement to all these issues should emerge from a broad-based and comprehensive national dialogue, not only among political actors but one that includes all sectors of society.
“Our hope is that the South African envoys and the whole global solidarity will catalyse the beginning of such a truthful, loving and mutually inclusive national dialogue process. Let such global solidarity awaken the convergence of the agency to build the Zimbabwe we want,” ZHOCD said.
ZHOCD, made up of church bodies including the Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops’ Conference (ZCBC) and Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC), further said the last few months had witnessed a manifestation of the shortcomings of the country’s government and leadership.
“There is deepening poverty with about 90 percent of the population in informal employment, which has now been rendered redundant due to the lockdown in response to Covid-19. The collapse of health, education and other social services has increased the burden on the poor and other vulnerable groups in society.”
ZHOCD added that the arrest and persecution of journalists and civil activists who amplified and detailed the depth of corruption, is worrying.
“The continued persecution of activists, some of whom have been tortured and treated inhumanely while others are still in hiding for fear of similar treatment, is a cause for concern.
“The violent presence and involvement of the army in a sphere that must be taken care of by the police is also a worrying development since the beginning of the new dispensation in November 2017.”






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