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Zimbabwe: Christian leaders lament ‘surge in systematic political violence, repression’

69% of Zimbabweans are Protestants, primarily Anglicans, Seventh-Day Adventists, and Methodists; 8% are Roman Catholic. There is a small and vibrant Greek Orthodox community in Zimbabwe; read about it here.

“Zimbabwe Christian Leaders Lament ‘surge in systematic political violence, repression,’” New Zimbabwe, January 30, 2023:

A surge in what is described as “systematic political violence, repression” and “arbitrary arrests” are among concerns that Christian leaders in Zimbabwe are raising.

In a Wednesday, January 25 statement, the Christian leaders under the auspices of Zimbabwe Heads of Christian Denominations (ZHOCD) call for respect of human life and the enforcement of the law on offenders and perpetrators of violence.

ZHOCD members say they “note with deep concern a surge in systematic political violence, repression, hate speech and arbitrary arrests in the country.”

They highlight the recent violence meted out against elderly persons, saying the assaults were not only a “blatant violation of citizens’ constitutional rights” but also went against “the social, cultural, and moral norms regarding the honor and respect that must be given to the elderly in our communities.”

ZHOCD members say the violence, which took place in Murehwa, some 100 km north of Zimbabwe’s capital city, Harare, “connects with episodes of violence, victimization, humiliation, intimidation, assault, and destruction of property that characterized the 2022 by-elections.”

“Similarly, the Church is following closely cases of hate speech that catalyze violence and undermines cohesion and tolerance in the country,” they say.

The Christian leaders also draw attention to “political related cases in Courts and ongoing arbitrary political arrests in the country, largely targeting members of the Opposition Political Parties.”

“The Church, in its moral and theological authority, deeply expresses disappointment and condemns all these forms of political violence, inhumane treatment, political persecution, and arbitrary arrests of fellow Zimbabweans,” say the ZHOCD members who are drawn from the leadership of the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops’ Conference (ZCBC), the Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC), the Union for the Development of Apostolic Churches in Zimbabwe Africa (UDACIZA) and the Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe (EFZ)….

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