Distressed church leaders in Zimbabwe have appealed to the world to come to the aid of Zimbabweans, driven to despair by state-sponsored terror nd a humanitarian crisis. The church leaders appealed to the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the African Union (AU) and the United Nations (UN) to arrest the deteriorating political and security situation. "We warn the world that if nothing is done to help the people of Zimbabwe from their predicament, we shall soon be witnessing genocide similar to that experienced in Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi and other hotspots in Africa and elsewhere." The Catholic, evangelical and Protestant leaders gave a chilling description of systematic violence meted out to innocent civilians by state security personnel in the countryside and in some populous urban areas where poverty and famine are rife. The violence is targeted at individuals, families and communities accused of campaigning or voting for the opposition in the March 29 general elections. The government has set up youth militia and war veteran/military base camps in different parts of the country for the purpose, the church leaders said. "People are being abducted, tortured and humiliated by being asked to repeat slogans of the political party they are alleged not to support, ordered to attend mass meetings where they are told they voted for the "wrong candidate and should never repeat it in the run-off election for President, and, in some cases, people are murdered. At the same time the humanitarian situation is plummeting frightfully. "The cost of living has gone beyond the reach of the majority of our people. There is widespread famine in most parts of the countryside on account of poor harvests and delays in the process of importing maize from neighbouring countries. The shops are empty and basic foodstuffs are unavailable. Victims of organized torture who are ferried to hospital find little solace as the hospitals have no drugs or medicines to treat them." The churches called for an immediate end to political violence, closure of the militia camps and release of the delayed presidential poll results. "The unprecedented delay in the publication of these results has caused anxiety, frustration, depression, suspicion and in some cases illness among people of Zimbabwe both at home and abroad. A pall of despondency hangs over the nation which finds itself in a crisis of expectations and governance. The nation is in a crisis, in limbo and no real business is taking place anywhere as the nation waits. The leaders urged Zimbabweans to uphold peace and personal dignity in this difficult time. "We urge you to refuse to be used for a political party or other people,s selfish ends, especially where it concerns violence against other people, including those who hold different views from your own. It was the Lord Jesus who said, Whatever you do to one of these little ones, you do it unto me, (Matthew 25:45). Source: CISA
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