Catholic bishops call on Govt to bring Murehwa perpetrators to book

The Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops’ Conference (ZCBC) has urged the government to bring the perpetrators of the Murehwa violence to justice; protect and provide necessary care for the victims.

The clergy also criticised the country’s history of election violence and called for a different electoral approach in the upcoming elections.

This appeal comes after a video surfaced over the weekend showing suspected Zanu PF youth attacking senior members of the opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) during an alleged political meeting in Murehwa, Mashonaland East.

In a statement made by the ZCBC leadership consisting of president Rt. Rev. Paul Horan, Vice President – Rt. Rev. Raymond Mupandasekwa, Bishop of Gweru Diocese and Apostolic Administrator of Gokwe Diocese – Rt. Rev Rudolf Nyandoro, Archbishop of Harare and Apostolic Administrator of Masvingo Diocese – Archbishop Robert C. Ndlovu, Archbishop of Bulawayo -Archbishop Alex Thomas and Bishop of Hwange – Rt. Rev Raphael Ncube, no citizen must be intimidated or coerced, and worse, beaten for making their political choice.

“We, the members of the ZCBC would want to condemn the barbaric act of violence captured on a video that circulated on social media over the weekend. The most disturbing thing is that the violent acts are meted out against senior citizens, people who should be enjoying the rights brought about by our independence,” said the clerics.

“What is more worrisome is that the violence captured in the video is politically related. A voice can be heard asking the senior citizens as to what a particular political party has done for them.”

According to ZCBC, such crimes call for zero tolerance for violence, as a culture of violence contradicts the moral fibre of Zimbabwean society.

“To curb nurturing such a culture we call upon the government through its various institutions to bring the perpetrators of violence to justice and may the victims of that violence be protected and given the necessary care,” said the clerics.

The clerics also urged all political players to desist from the use of violence and young people to commit violent crimes, as the country heads towards the polls.

“Violence should not be employed to gain political mileage. The people’s fundamental rights should be respected at all times. Citizens of this nation have rights enshrined in our Constitution. Among those rights is the freedom of choice, association and political rights,” said the clergy.

“We would like to urge all parties to be responsible in their campaigns. Sell to the people your ideologies, and convince them with your arguments. As you do so, respect their choices.”

ZCBC said it is incumbent on the government, political parties, and all relevant institutions to create a level playing field as “people of this country dream and yearn for a free, credible and fair election.”

“It’s not the casting of ballots that ascertains that, it’s the environment we create before, during and after elections,” they said.

“Equal opportunities should be given to all who want to participate in this coming election. There should be no fear or favour. Heinous violent crimes as the one captured on the ‘Murehwa video’ should be condemned by all parties.”

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