SW Radio Africa (London)

Zimbabwe: Christian Groups March Against Corruption and Political Violence

Bulawayo was the venue for a symbolic march Thursday, organised by Christian groups in Matabeleland province, in an effort to highlight the problem of corruption in Zimbabwe and the desire for peaceful elections next year.

Reverend Useni Sibanda from the Zimbabwe Christian Alliance (ZCA) told SW Radio Africa that the march was "well-attended", with about 400 people taking part in the procession from City Hall to the Brothers in Christ Church.

Sibanda said they were escorted by the police, which gave them security and hope for more peaceful future events. The key government officials that had been invited also turned up for discussions on other constitutional issues.

Sibanda said their panel of guests included the Minister for Small Enterprises, Gordon Moyo and Minister Sekai Holland from the Organ for National Healing. A session was also held with officials from the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.

"They were very concerned, especially with the issue of fear, that most people would be too afraid to participate even in the referendum. ZEC assured us that they were dealing with the issue of violence and so did the organ on healing.

Sibanda said most importantly, clergy from many remote rural districts took part in the discussions, and will be able to bring crucial information back to their parishes. He added: "Most of the pastors came and at least one third were from rural areas. They came from Binga, Lupane, Beitbridge, Bubi and Hwange."

The march and discussions were part of a broader church mission to influence specific issues in the new constitution being drafted by the unity government.

Sibanda said the churches will continue to engage with government to make sure that the issues that affect people's daily lives are addressed.

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