BY HARRIET CHIKANDIWA
THE Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe (EFZ) has called for multi-stakeholder dialogue to address the country’s worsening socio-political and economic crises.
In a pastoral letter, EFZ said failure to engage in multi-sectorial dialogue to bring the country out of the woods would further frustrate the citizens and might lead to an implosion.
“It is clear and has been so for some time now that a united, multi-sectoral approach is needed to resolve the current multi-faceted crisis,” part of the letter dated August 4, read.
“The government and the ruling party (Zanu PF) alone will not be able to resolve the crisis because of the loss of trust in the current national processes and institutions, and a deep concern that there seems to be no distinction between the ruling party and the government and that there is self-serving and selective application of the law while the suffering of the citizenry continues unabated.”
The churches group added: “The crisis facing Zimbabwe is multi-layered — a convergence of economic collapse, deepening poverty, food security, corruption and human rights abuses among other crises in urgent need of resolution.
“The recent arrest, prohibition of demonstrations and the various forms of expression, online, individual protests and stayaway of July 31 are the expressions of growing frustrations and aggravation caused by the condition that the majority of Zimbabweans find themselves in.
“The arrest of citizens and prohibitions of mass action has not dented the momentum of agitation, but instead has caused it to gain regional and international attention through the #ZimbabweanLivesMatter which has gone viral.”
Zimbabwe is experiencing its worst economic and political crises in a decade. Protests by citizens against the deteriorating situation in the country have been met with brute force by President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government.
Journalist Hopewell Chin’ono and opposition Transform Zimbabwe leader Jacob Ngarivhume are languishing in remand prison after being denied bail over allegations of inciting violence ahead of the July 31 protests.
Several opposition officials were allegedly abducted and tortured, while more than a dozen went into hiding.The EFZ called for respect for human dignity, rights and freedom of expression.
The churches added that arbitrary arrests, abductions and torture could only serve to deepen the crises.