25 April 2019

Zimbabwe: Church Leaders Meet Security Chiefs

Photo: The Herald
Zimbabwe Defence Forces Commander Phillip Valerio Sibanda.

Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC) leaders Wednesday met the country's security commanders in what could be linked to their ongoing concerns over continued rights abuses by the armed forces.

The church leaders refused to share both what prompted the meeting and the outcome of the closed door engagement.

"Very productive meeting between the church leadership and the state security services," Zimbabwe Council of Churches secretary general, Rev Kenneth Mtata said.

Rodney Nare, spokesperson of the group, was also cautious in his response.

"What I can advise is that the meeting was a closed door engagement. And therefore I cannot share content with you," Nare told NewZimbabwe.com.

Zimbabwe's security forces have been accused of massive rights abuses since independence right from the 1980s Gukurahundi atrocities to date.

Lately, the came under spotlight when troops deployed to quell wild demonstrations over election results in central Harare August 1 last year opened fire, killing 6 protesters and bystanders and injuring dozens more.

In January this year, 17 people also died in the hands of the armed forces while more were tortured after being accused of taking part in violent protests that rocked many parts of the country, and were more intense in Harare and Bulawayo.

Following the violence, church leaders also met Vice President Constantino Chiwenga and the Minister of Defence and War Veterans Oppah Muchinguri Kashiri January this year in attempts to find solutions to the country's myriad crises which have set the security forces against the masses.

The Wednesday meeting by the church leaders with the security chiefs comes a month after their meeting with central bank governor John Mangudya where they demanded an apology for misleading the nation into believing the bond note was equal to the US dollar.

Last year, the church leaders wrote to President Emmerson Mngangwa urging him to restore political stability following the disputed polls.

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