NEWS ANALYSIS/OMNIS TERRA - Zimbabwe, Churches in the frontline for a national agreement

Wednesday, 29 April 2020 politics   reconciliation   peace   local churches   ecumenicalism   dialogue  

Harare (Agenzia Fides) - Christian Churches, historically active and recognized presence in Zimbabwe, have decided to structure some proposals to help the country get out of the tunnel of difficulty and suffering in which it finds itself. And they have launched a platform to promote inclusive dialogue of all the actors, to sign a definitive pact of reconciliation which aims to be a first new step for a real political and social revitalization of the nation.
Two and a half years have passed since, to the surprise of world observers, Robert Mugabe, in power in Zimbabwe for almost 38 years, gave way to Emmerson Mnangagwa, with extremely limited margin, although through highly contested elections in July 2018, arousing among the approximately 17 million inhabitants very high hopes. Many of these were disappointed. And on April 18, the 40th anniversary of independence, also due to an initial, but worrying spread of Covid-19 (the confirmed cases are about thirty with four deaths), was seen as one of the most miserable of its history: the risk of default, between record inflation (over 600%), rampant unemployment (95%) and 7.5 million citizens starving.
In this context, the Churches have never ceased to be a solid point of reference, notes Fr. Frederick Chiromba, Secretary General of the Catholic Bishops' Conference. "In November 2017, with the intervention of the army, Zimbabwe experienced the transfer of power after over 37 years of Robert Mugabe's rule. The change sparked many hopes and created many positive expectations. The population in turmoil expected the new government to put in place a transition process capable of rapidly leading to absolutely essential socio-economic and political reforms, the only way to overcome the divisions for the good of the Country. But none of this ever happened. The ruling party chose a different path and form of communication from the previous one, but is very late in implementing the necessary transformations and the concerns and sufferings of the population. However, not all hopes are lost. We are confident that the people of Zimbabwe will push the government to give an account of its work and to force it to activate the reforms as established by the constitution which was approved in 2013, but never implemented. Democracy and development will certainly arrive in Zimbabwe (...) - continues