Zimbabwe: Churches Hail Progress Despite Blockade

27 October 2021

Churches on Monday hailed the Second Republic for steering the economy despite the yoke of illegal sanctions imposed by the West and described Zimbabweans who called for the imposition of the embargoes as unpatriotic.

The churches met in the capital under the banner of the Zimbabwe Indigenous Interdenominational Council of Churches.

Eminent clergymen that included Zion Christian Church founder, Bishop Nehemiah Mutendi and Reverend Andrew Wutawunashe, who is also chairperson of the Faith for the Nation Campaign, attended the meeting.

Others who were present were Roman Catholic priest, Father Fidelis Mukonori, economist Dr Tinashe Manzungu and former legislator Cde Makhosini Hlongwane who was head of Zimbabwe Parliamentary delegation to the African, Caribbean, Pacific and European Union Joint Parliamentary Assembly.

In his address, Bishop Mutendi said the Second Republic led by President Mnangagwa was doing well under the sanctions' yoke given the massive infrastructure development it is carrying out.

Bishop Mutendi likened those who called for sanctions to the bible story about the judgment of King Solomon who solved a conflict of custody of a child on two women by suggesting that they cut the baby in two with either of them receiving half.

One mother was content with Solomon's proposal, indicating that if she couldn't have the baby, then neither of them should while the other one pleaded that the baby be spared resulting in the latter being declared as the legitimate mother.

"These sanctions are a huge test for patriotism. There are those that want the child to be killed, why do you take a knife for the baby to be cut, that Zimbabwe should collapse by calling for sanctions. The (biblical) bush continue to burn but without being consumed. We have seen what is being done on our roads by the Government, shops are now full. These sanctions must be removed unconditionally. The West must leave us to do our things," said Bishop Mutendi.

He said a person must be judged by his or her neighbour and Sadc has spoken when it rallied behind Zimbabwe in denouncing the sanctions.

"It is your neighbour who can give testimony to you. Just like Sadc has done to us," he said.

Rev Wutawunashe said as churches they were calling for the West and the United States of America to remove the burden of sanctions they imposed on Zimbabwe.

"My Lords Bishops, the Churches' prayers is an appeal to such nations as the United States of America, the United Kingdom, the European Union and other relevant parties to urgently and unconditionally grant Zimbabwe relief from all forms of sanctions and restrictive measures," he said.

Rev Wutawunashe described the sanctions as unjust, misdirected and inhuman, adding that they had not yielded any positive benefit.

Father Mukonori chronicled several meetings that he chaired that had former white commercial farmers, Government led by founding leader President Mugabe and war veterans, where a call was made in vain to the white farmers to voluntarily surrender extra land so that it could be shared with other Zimbabweans.

In his presentation, Cde Hlongwane unpacked the nature of illegal sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe and their effects and also narrated several meetings he held during ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly plenaries calling for the removal of sanctions.

He said the Second Republic was right in pursuing engagement and re-engagement with countries that imposed illegal sanctions on Harare.

"As a country, we need to diversify our source markets. Let us not abandon the West but let us add more like looking East, the relationship with the East such as China must be emboldened and solidified. The current Government is correct in engagement and re-engagement. The decision on the Article Eight political dialogue with the EU is equally good," said Cde Hlongwane, a former Cabinet Minister.

Cde Hlongwane was invited to give expert knowledge on sanctions given the experience he gathered during his stint as legislator representing Zimbabwe to ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly where he was elected President of the Standing Committee on Political Affairs of the ACP Parliamentary Assembly in November 2013.

Economist Dr Tinashe Manzungu said sanctions had an adverse effect on business as there was limited lines of credit coupled by deficit in balance of trade.

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