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Zim to engage Vatican over row with Catholic bishops

Justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi is considering engaging the Vatican City on its position on the southern African nation following a row with local Catholic Bishops on the country’s human rights and political situation.

The Vatican is a city surrounded by Rome, Italy which is the headquarters of the Catholic Church.

This comes after an eventful week of accusations and counter-accusation between the state on one hand and civic society organisations following a Pastoral Letter by Catholic Bishops in which they exhorted authorities to address the worsening human rights situation in the country.

Ziyambi also ordered the local Catholic Church to stay away from Zimbabwe’s political arena after accusing leaders of the church of working with foreign governments to destabilize the state.

“Given the venerable Bishops represent the Catholic Church, Government is compelled to directly engage the Vatican or whether these are merely views of the various individuals concerned,” Ziyambi said.

“In order to ascertain whether or not such statements reflect the official attitude of the Holy See towards Zimbabwe’s leadership or it would be more than unfortunate if the local Catholic leadership has elected to align itself with foreign agendas and external interference in Zimbabwe domestic affairs.

The Catholic Church is broad-based religious institution which draws membership from Zimbabweans of all political persuasions and backgrounds…It cannot and should not stray from that role. It has no place within the secular and often highly robust world of local politics.”

The Catholic Church, Ziyambi further said made “unfounded” claims on the current socio-political situation in the country, independence of the country’s judiciary as well as the executive’s commitment in fighting corruption.

Corruption in the public service had become a rallying point for dissenting voices demanding improved accountability and governance from President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government.

“They have chosen this moment to add voices to what has become a shrill politically-motivated cacophony masked as moral outrage on the basis of a deliberate mis-representation of recent events in Zimbabwe is both regrettable and deeply disappointing,” Ziyambi said.

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