Zimbabwe: pray for dialogue, churches say

 The Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops' Conference, the Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe and Zimbabwe Council of Churches, and other church related organisations have expressed concern at the continued impasse between Zimbabwe African Union PF (ZANU PF) and the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in the country.

The two major political parties have tried without much success to sit at the negotiating table in order to come up with a peaceful solution to Zimbabwe's deteriorating political and economic situation.

South African president Thabo Mbeki, Malawian president, Bakili Muluzi and the Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo have in the past few weeks all visited Zimbabwe and met President Robert Mugabe and MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai separately. However the two leaders have not met.

The argument is that Tsvangirai insists Mugabe rigged the presidential elections in March last year. President Mugabe is saying he can not meet Tsvangirai unless he recognises him as the legitimate leader of Zimbabwe.

In a joint statement, the church groups called upon the people of Zimbabwe to pray and work for the resumption of the dialogue between the two parties to rescue the country from worse problems.

"We also call upon the press to desist from manipulative reporting in its desire to write stories for its publication. While the stalemate exists, the church remains united in its resolve to pursue the route of a peaceful, mediated settlement which will bring about normally to our nation," the statement said.

Munyaradzi Makoni is a Zimbabwean journalist.

Munyaradzi Makoni / Published Saturday, July 17, 1999 6:00 am

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