Church slams violence


Loughty Dube

THE Mennonite Church that held its world conference in Bulawayo this month has issued a statement condemning the deteriorating political and economic situation in the countr

y.


The General Council of the Mennonite World Council (MWC), together with 6 200 participants from 54 countries, met in Bulawayo at the beginning of August for a conference that is held every six years.


Roman Catholic Church archbishop Pius Ncube, a major critic of President Mugabe’s policies, gave the welcome speech at the conference.


The MWC statement, issued by the co-presidents of the organisation, Nancy Heisey and Mesach Krisetya, said the MWC deplored the suffering in the country.


“We especially grieve and deplore the current situation of suffering in this country, the fear and brutality that result from political oppression and conflict, excessive police powers and arbitrary arrests and legislation that curtails democratic expression and free assembly,” the statement said.


The conference, whose theme was “Sharing gifts in suffering and in joy” was held for a week in Bulawayo and was attended by Christians from Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America.


The MWC deplored the hardships which have resulted from economic decline, profiteering and corruption.


“We deplore the malnutrition and death that results from a humanitarian crisis of major proportions caused by mismanagement of the economy, drought, massive shortages of food, medical supplies and services, and the scourge of HIV/Aids,” the statement said.


The MWC praised the local church for its prophetic voice, for justice and peace and the courageous role of its leaders in efforts to resolve the Zimbabwean crisis.


The MWC said it was encouraged by the current mediation talks and the non-violent action of Zimbabweans.


“We affirm with great joy and deep gratitude the commitment of all parties to the current mediation talks and the tenacity, passion, endurance and non-violent action of Zimbabweans in the face of deep distress.”