Zimbabwe: Anglican church joins protest over violence

 The Anglican church in Zimbabwe has officially protested over the growing violence in the country. The Anglican council of Zimbabwe issued a statement yesterday, following a meeting in which the four dioceses of Central Zimbabwe, Harare, Manicaland, and Matebeleland gathered to set up a new diocese in Masvingo. They said that, although the coming of new players on the political field augured very well for democracy, "we are however alarmed by the violence that is tearing the country apart." The council appealed for a culture of tolerance among the candidates in the forthcoming elections. The statement said: "There should be an end to violence and the state machinery must deal firmly with offenders, without fear or favour". It said the media should cover all contestants equally and political parties should be able to state their views and present their manifestos, giving voters options. This is the first time the Anglican church in Zimbabwe has expressed such strong views opposing government policies. Recently, at a national prayer meeting in Harare, Anglican Bishop Nolbert Kunonga shocked many of his fellow church members when he said in a speech, that President Robert Mugabe was "more Christian" than himself or anyone else present. He also urged the seizure and control of industry as well as agriculture by the government. A report in the Zimbabwe Independent last week said the Anglican church council in Harare were planning a meeting with Kunonga "to discuss what he meant". In February the Catholic Bishops Conference in Zimbabwe issued a statement condemning violence and calling for the rule of law to be observed.

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