Zimbabwe: Churches seek way out of deepening national crisis

 Church leaders have announced plans to initiate a process to help heal Zimbabwe's deepening economic and political crisis. "As shepherds of our people, we are concerned about the current challenges and for the future of this great country. We are concerned that the important gains made since our independence and that became the source of our pride, are daily slipping away," representatives of Catholic, Protestant and evangelical churches said at the end of a meeting last Thursday. The leaders agreed to produce a common statement of views and vision by the church in Zimbabwe within four weeks. "We believe that now is the time for us as Zimbabweans to engage one another in honest, sincere and constructive dialogue that will enable us respond together to our country,s need for rebuilding, renewal and healing," they said. Zimbabwe's economic meltdown induced by bad policies and the iron rule of President Robert Mugabe has pushed most of the country,s 12 million people into poverty. "We believe that in our divisions as a nation we all have perceived the truth in part, just as we all have contributed in part to the current state of impasse," the church leaders said. "We confess that these divisions have not spared us as church leaders, and that we also have often taken positions that have alienated us from one another. We thus believe that now is the time for us as a nation to go beyond judging one another and begin seeking solutions that will heal and restore our land." The statement follows the devastating report (see: ICN 31 August 2006 Report reveals desperate plight of Zimbabwe's homeless) by the Solidarity Peace Trust, which revealed that the Zimbabwean government has done virtually nothing to help the 700,000 people who lost their homes and businesses last year in President Mugabe's 'Operation Drive Out Trash' demolition campaign. Source: CISA

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