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Zimbabwe: Mugabe accuses Catholic commission of 'meddling'

 President Robert Mugabe has threatened to rein in Zimbabwe's Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace and other non-governmental organizations (NGOs). He accused them of 'meddling' in the country's internal affairs. The Herald, Zimbabwe's government-owned newspaper, reported on October 12, that: "The President said some NGOs have been meddling in the country's internal affairs and singled out the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP)." Noting that NGOs were conduits for external aid, Mugabe said they should be non-partisan but not act as "hatcheries of political opposition" the paper reported. He said monies pouring in through NGOs were being used against Zimbabweans. A Bill was already before Parliament, Mugabe said, by which the government would be able "to plug the holes in the policy governing the operations of NGOs." The Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace was formed by the National Catholic Bishops' Conference in March 1972 so that the local church could actively give witness to the concern for justice and peace, and for the laity to see that the church is working for justice and peace. The CCJP educates both laity and clergy to the responsibilities of acting as Christians. Through it, the church makes positive suggestions for the enactment of just civil laws and their impartial administration. This needs the full involvement of all citizens of goodwill. The Commission, which has grassroots structures in parishes and dioceses, is affiliated to the Pontifical Commission for Justice and Peace in Rome. It has active contact with commissions in other countries. It carries out its work by organizing workshops and seminars, and publishing newsletters. The CCJP, which also makes use of the press and booklets, also participates in activities organized by other human rights groups. Source: Catholic Information Service Africa