Sadc church leaders bemoan pre-election environment

THE Fellowship of Christian Councils in Southern Africa (FOCCISA) says the pre-election environment prevailing in Zimbabwe is not conducive for elections.

Carlos Vieira

In a statement after the group’s three-day solidarity visit to Zimbabwe, the 12-member delegation, made up of religious leaders from Sadc, said political violence, the disenfranchisement of thousands of voters and unfair media access have contributed to a tense pre-election environment.

FOCCISA was invited on the mission by the Zimbabwe Council of Churches and the delegation, which visited Chinhoyi, Bindura, Harare, Masvingo, Mutare, Gweru, and Bulawayo, met with local church leaders, civil society leaders and government officials.

“There remain justifiable concerns about the threat of violence and the resurgence of political violence,” said the group.

“The churches and civic groups we met also bemoaned the lack of equal access by political parties to the media, in particular the state-owned media. We will continue to advocate for the observance of the rule of law, the respect and promotion of human rights.

“We would like to see a free and fair election which is held according to the laws of the country, reflects the will of the people of Zimbabwe and meets international standards for democratic elections.”

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