The Zimbabwe Heads of Christian Denominations (ZHOCD) yesterday said they have lost confidence in the current economic reforms being implemented by President Emmerson Mnangagwa administration amid a deteriorating human rights situation.
This come at a time there have been a number of abductions and torture of human rights defenders and political activists with the recent case of the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors’ Association acting president Peter Magombeyi, who was abducted by suspected State security agents in Budiriro at the weekend.
The economy is also nosediving with the Zimbabwean dollar fast losing value against the United States dollar, further eroding workers’ salaries.
“The Zimbabwe Heads of Christian Denominations (ZHOCD) writes this pastoral message to the President as head of government and to all the citizens of Zimbabwe seeking a lasting solution to the deteriorating human security situation in the context of a deepening economic crisis,” the clerics said in a statement.
“Church leaders are learning with deep concern the deteriorating human security situation, especially as demonstrated by at least 20 reports of abductions. This situation is deeply worrying because none of the reported cases of abduction and torture have been successfully investigated and prosecuted.”
ZHOCD said they were concerned to hear of the fragile relationships within the security sector alleged to have only worsened in the course of the November 2017 coup which removed the late former President Robert Mugabe from power and led to the ascendancy of Mnangagwa to power.
The church leaders said they were aware that the population was getting restive due to the pain of worsening economic conditions.
“The church leaders would like to highlight the lack of confidence in the current national economic reform trajectory and the absence of a meaningful consultative process to ameliorate it,” the statement said.
“Unfortunately, the growing pessimism is not only shared by international economists, but also by respected local economists. The church leaders are concerned that low public confidence in the context of fragile security sector is a recipe for national crisis.”
The church leaders added the State should respect people’s God-given and constitutionally guaranteed right to life and freedom from torture, abductions and unlawful confinement.
They called on Mnangagwa to publicly condemn the abductions and torture of civilians as well as appointing an independent investigation into these abductions and all business, labour, civil society groups, political parties and other key stakeholders to commit to a broad-based and comprehensive national dialogue.
ZHOCD comprises the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops Conference, Zimbabwe Council of Churches, Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe and The Union for the Development of Apostolic Churches in Zimbabwe.