Zimbabwe: Archbishop makes Lenten appeal for prisoners

Archbishop Robert C Ndlovu of Harare has made an new appeal on behalf of prisoners in Zimbabwe who are being incarcerated in appalling conditions.  He added that  many  Zimbabweans  throughout the country are living in severe poverty and receive  no healthcare, and warned that there may be another drought, bringing a poor  harvest.

In his recent Lenten Pastoral Letter he recalled  the help given through the St Vincent de Paul Society to prisoners in 2009. “The SVP were able to distribute blankets, cooking oil and soap to the eight prisons within the Archdiocese, but outside Harare. The five prisons within Harare were given soap, toiletries, medicines, groceries, maize meal, blankets and clothing. At the same time efforts were made through the SVP, to revive the prison vegetable gardens at Chikuriubi, Mazowe and Rigidita by providing seed, fertilizer, and fuel for tillage and irrigation equipment.”

At the time prisoners were completely neglected by the authorities, many fell ill, an unknown number died of hunger and disease, but many were also rescued by outside help.

Talking about the 2010 Lenten Campaign the Archbishop said: “The prisoners we helped last year continue to be in need.  Many people in our society are sick and without support. Many are homeless and naked and lack care. Victims of our national economic situation are many, and constitute the ‘little ones of the Lord’…It is our duty to speak up for them and to sensitize others of their need….When the Lord comes in judgment, let us be found to have taken care of his little brothers and sisters, in as far as we can”.

Warning there might be another drought resulting in a poor harvest and hunger, he asked Catholics to be generous in their contributions to the current Lenten Campaign.

Source: Jesuit Communications Harare

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