A syndicate of churches and representatives gathered at the Dutch Reformed Church Hall in Harare to commemorate the loss of Zimbabwean lives in 2008 due to political violence.
By Rumbidzai Nyabako
Zimbabwe Divine Destiny Leader Bishop Magaya, Human Rights activists Sydney Chisi, De Joshua Kativhu and War Veterans graced the event for Peace Initiative Secretary-General Takawira, Reverend Melusi, Zimbabwe Council of Churches Advocacy and Governance Assistant Officer Rugare Kozanai, Victims of Political Violence Mrs. Ndira and former personal aide to the late Morgan Tsvangirai, Gandi Mudzingwa.
Speaking at the event Rev Melusi highlighted the fact that churches used to distance themselves from the political arena but pointed out that everything was politics. Rev Melusi said that everything that affected decision-making even on a personal level is politics hence the need for churches to be actively involved.
Rev Melusi expressed the fact that Zimbabwe had surely attained independence but peace was short lived because of the injustices triggered by the state towards anyone who was perceived as a threat to the status quo. He questioned why there should be a bomb attack 38 years later when masses pledged for independence and harmony as a nation and not exempting the state.
Another speaker Sydney Chisi alluded to the fact that 26 June is a day to reflect on the atrocious deaths and disappearances that citizens experienced even after the attainment of independence in 1980 the likes of Itai Dzamara, Edison Sithole, Sydney Malunga and many more.
Chisi alleged that people with big names in Zimbabwe were the forces behind all these occurrences. He said most of these people gained power not because they were experienced but because of their liberation war credentials.
Chisi pointed out that Zimbabwe as a nation is very secure but individuals are not secure. He went on to say that there has been loss of freedom to certain individuals in Zimbabwe who were deemed a threat to national security by practicing their right to expression and free speech.
He went on to say that the Land reform programme in Zimbabwe was conducted in a chaotic manner where basic human rights of both white and black Zimbabweans such as the right to life, freedom and protection of property were infringed.
Chisi said that choice in the politics of elections has now become the new game that precipitated political violence. These chaotic processes gave birth to use of violence by the youths to parents, siblings and neighbours ahead for the leadership. He alleged that this led to the training of more than 80 000 Border Gezi’s (National Youth Service) and these trainees meant to protect ZANU PF status quo at the expense of the taxpayers.
Chisi also highlighted that ‘Operation Murambatsvina’ was politically motivated targeting suspected MDC supporters and sympathisers in urban areas and force them indirectly to relocate to their rural areas. He went on to say that politics had always been crooked but it was never too late to unite and displace corrupt leaders and urged people to push for change by making their own choices in the coming elections.
Mrs. Ndira, a widower gave a testimony of how her husband was killed by suspected political violence perpetrators. She narrated how her late husband was found alive with his tongue-tied, broken knuckles and eyes. Gandi Mudzingwa Morgan Tsvangirai’s personal aide said he was a political violence survivor.
Zimbabwe Council of Churches Advocacy and Governance Assistant Officer Rugare Kozanai declared that the government should start putting their words into action. He highlighted that the government had said a lot and now it was time to ‘walk the talk’. Kozanai said leaders made public allegiances through swearing on the bible promising to serve the nation but never lived to their promises hence now the need for the church to intervene and help to restore peace and freedom in Zimbabwe.
Bishop Magaya urged all Zimbabweans to stand for what they believe in and to unite since the church is the backbone of the society. He encouraged all Zimbabweans to be peaceful as we head towards for the 30 July harmonised elections.