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Violence in Zimbabwe: statement from the Bishop of Harare

Posted on: April 26, 2000 11:18 AM
Related Categories: Central Africa

The state of the nation of Zimbabwe is a cause of concern. The War Veterans have invaded farms which are owned by White commercial farmers which has regrettably resulted in the death of people i.e. White and Black. Property has been gutted by fire and damage running into millions of dollars has been reduced to ashes because of the disturbances.

The position of the Diocese of Harare in as far as the land issue is that "this is really a justice issue". You will recall that the war of liberation was fought largely to repossess the land that was grabbed by the Settler Colonialists. The Diocese believes most sincerely that the land in this country must be shared in accordance to the proportion of the inhabitants and that the resources must be distributed more equitably but this has to be done in a lawful, orderly and transparent manner that is devoid of corruption.

We also are concerned with the inter party violence that has erupted. People on all sides of the political spectrum have been injured, some killed and others hospitalised with valuable property destroyed.

In this apparent darkness in Zimbabwe, our nation has witnessed enough suffering, hardship, violence and destruction. Only truth, repentance, forgiveness, justice, peace and reconciliation should guide us forward now. The meeting a week ago between White farmers and War Veterans which was chaired by the President of this country goes a long way towards resolving this issue and bring about lasting peace.

The Diocese of Harare has set up the Justice, Peace and Reconciliation Committee whose brief inter alia to address any racial, tribal or cultural conflicts and work towards their reconciliation with love and understanding. The Committee is quietly involved in shuttle diplomacy, setting up meeting and brokering peace amongst all sections of our community irrespective of the cultural, political, national, racial or religious affiliation.

We are very hopeful that with God's help these efforts will bear fruit and in our humble analysis of the situation in Zimbabwe we do not anticipate anything other that we submit ourselves to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. The only people who can resolve this issue are Zimbabweans only without any influence from outside. It is really a Zimbabwean issue and because of our historical tie, England has to fulfil all its promises in order that Zimbabweans can come to terms with this matter.

We ask you to pray for us in this situation and hope that the meeting between the British and Zimbabwean delegations, who will be meeting in London during the course of this week, will iron out all the financial implications and resolve this outstanding land issue which has caused much pain and suffering among our people.

My Easter Message was based on the prophecy of Ezekiel when he said:

"Behold says Ezekial, I will open your graves and raise you from your graves, O my people, and I will bring you home into the land of Israel. And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I open you graves, O my people. And I will put my Spirit with you and you shall live and I will place you in your land." (Ezekiel 37 12-14)

We firmly believe that the God who raised Jesus from His grave will indeed raise all the people of this glorious country of Zimbabwe from our graves, which we have made and shall once more live in peace and harmony.

The Rt Revd Jonathan Siyachitema
Bishop of Harare