WE, Christians Together for Justice and Peace, an informal, ecumenical group of church leaders meeting in Bulawayo, write to express our strong moral opposition to the series of one-day matches b
etween England and Zimbabwe which are currently under way in Zimbabwe.
Like the many church and civic leaders who have already protested against this tour and the brave cricketers from the English side who have refused to participate, we consider it to be wholly inappropriate for such a tour to go ahead at this time.
We note with great sadness that Zimbabwean professional cricket has been hi-jacked by politicians who have imposed a political agenda on the game and racist criteria in the selection of the Zimbabwean players.
It is a matter of great regret to us that a once popular sport which brought our country much deserved acclaim in the international field has now been corrupted and is used by an unpopular regime to make political capital.
We recall the time when the people of South Africa were suffering under the yoke of apartheid and the international community imposed a sports boycott on the country in solidarity with the oppressed.
The suffering of our people under the present tyranny in this country bears many of the same marks as that suffering, and just as those who were committed to the struggle for freedom and democracy in South Africa called for a sports boycott at that time, so now we support the call for a boycott of this cricket tour.
In our view it is impossible to continue normal sporting relations in an abnormal society. Rather than pretending that things are normal (which is implied in such a tour) it is surely better to call attention to the political and humanitarian crisis now engulfing this nation, in order to address the causes of that crisis, and so move towards change, renewal and healing.
We therefore urge all Christians, particularly those who have a passion for cricket, to search their consciences and consider whether it is not their duty also to support the boycott.
We do this, not to bring politics into sport, but rather to make a Christian statement about a sport which has already been heavily politicised, and severely damaged, by politicians who have no real interest in the game at all. Our concern is for justice and peace, for which we are all now called to make some sacrifice.
Christians Together for
Justice and Peace,