Zimbabwe: church leaders meet Mugabe

 Three leading bishops met President Robert Mugabe, in an effort to ease tensions between the government and the main opposition party- Zimbabwe's state television reported on Saturday. Patrick Mutume of the Catholic Bishops Conference, Bishop Sebastian Bakare of the Zimbabwe Christian Council, and Bishop Trevor Manhanga of the Evangelical Fellowship met Mugabe with senior members of his ruling Zanu PF party on Friday to discuss how the church could mediate in the crisis. All three church leaders have protested recently about the deteriorating human rights situation in Zimbabwe. The ruling Zanu PF party's national chairman John Nkomo said on Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation: ''The meeting went extremely well. It became a meeting of people who were at one in terms of the appreciation of the state of affairs in the country and the desire to bring about normalcy." Bishop Bakare said the meeting was a continuation of discussions between Zanu PF and Tsvangirai's main opposition Movement for Democratic Change. He said: ''People are trying very hard to find a way to...talk together as one." For the first time in three years MDC legislators decided not to boycott Mugabe's speech marking the opening of parliament. The MDC, which holds 54 of the 150 seats in parliament, said it had decided to attend to create an environment for political dialogue. Mugabe's speech to the house also omitted his usual verbal attacks on the MDC, which he has denounced as a puppet of Western countries led by former colonial power Britain. Source: ZW NEWS

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