WE, Christians Together for Justice and Peace note with deep concern the recent spate of slanderous attacks made upon the Executive Mayor of Bulawayo, Japhet Ndabeni Ncube and the city’s director of health services, Dr Zanele Hwalima by I
nformation minister Jonathan Moyo and the state media which he controls.
We note that the attacks upon the executive mayor and his professional staff arise from the publication of the records kept by the city council of the number of deaths which can be attributed to hunger. In this regard we commend those true servants of the people who are doing their utmost to care for the sick and dying by feeding the starving in our city.
We also commend wholeheartedly those in the city and across the nation who are monitoring the food security situation closely and who have the courage to publish their findings. The truth about the food security situation is far too important a matter to be left to power-hungry politicians who will twist and distort it for their own advantage.
The truth belongs to the people. They have a right to know and the truth-tellers in our society deserve the grateful thanks of the nation for the invaluable service they are providing.
Moyo himself would do well to listen to what they have to say rather than rubbishing their stories and threatening them for daring to tell it the way it is.
We are acutely aware that our people are facing an extremely grave situation through the scarcity of basic food commodities and the high prices which place the available supplies well beyond the reach of most.
When the mayor says that deaths resulting from malnutrition are now a weekly occurrence and that most of those who die are under the age of five or the frail elderly, he is doing no more than stating the facts – which the official records substantiate.
In such a situation to deny that there is a food crisis, as Moyo does, is highly irresponsible. To threaten those who, in the course of their public duty, call attention to the danger, amounts to a serious abuse of power.
And moreover, we would remind the minister that the executive mayor and councillors are elected officials who represent the people. Any attack upon these civic leaders is an attack upon those who elected them – the people of Bulawayo.
When we read that the United Nations agencies, including the UN Development Programme and the World Food Programme had requested permission to carry out a nutrition survey in Bulawayo and that the necessary approvals from the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare had not been forthcoming, we knew that there was a truth issue here which this regime is not willing to face.
But however hard they try to suppress the truth, the truth will out, and it is better by far that the nation faces that truth now rather than allow preventable deaths to continue week by week.
We who serve the one who is “the Way, the Truth and the Life”, salute the brave truth-tellers in our nation.
Christians Together for Justice and Peace,