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Catholic lawyers hit back, demand apology

AN association of lawyers affiliated to the Catholic Bishops in Zimbabwe has hit back at the government after Information minister assailed the local church’s leadership for speaking truth to power.

As government appears to be on the ropes taking various blows from various groups such as civic society organisations, rights lawyers, the opposition and the clergy, Mustvanga stirred a hornet’s nest when she singled out Harare diocese Archbishop Robert Ndlovu following a pastoral letter that condemned escalating human rights situation in the country.

The Catholic Lawyers Guild, an association representing 200 legal practitioners affiliated to the church demanded an urgent apology from government, accusing authorities of dividing the clergy.

“As Catholic Lawyers Guild, we are shocked by government’s blatant denials of the crisis in Zimbabwe,” the lawyers said ĺate Sunday.

“In the circumstances, as Catholic Lawyers Guild, we demand the following from government; an apology and retraction of the vitriolic response given to the Pastoral Letter by the ZBC; an assurance that no harm will befall on the Bishops on account of the Pastoral Letter and any future communication that as the true  shepherds they will release and an acknowledgement that Zimbabwe is in a crisis…”

The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights also waded into the row raising concern over government’s treatment of the clergy.

“There is no justification for the vilification of clergymen and this anti-Catholic scorn because for the Bishops, speaking out against transgressions is their moral obligation,” the rights lawyers said in a statement.

“As ZLHR, we are greatly concerned that the intolerance of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government on dissent and criticism is becoming more despicable every passing day.”

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