Methodist Church in Zim slams police

HARARE - The Methodist Church in Zimbabwe (MCZ) has slammed police’s brutality towards peaceful protesters, saying it is high time authorities fix the crises “that demand serious dialogue among all citizens”.

In a rare press statement issued yesterday, the usually placid church — one of the biggest congregations in the country — added its voice to the growing calls that President Robert Mugabe and his government create a “conducive atmosphere for multi-stakeholder engagement”.

Over the past few months, Zimbabwe has witnessed a wave of demonstrations against Mugabe’s failed leadership.

“...we implore those police officers and other security personnel that are brutalising citizens to respect citizens’ right to peaceful demonstrations and to desist from perpetrating violence on the people and uphold the rule of law,” MCZ said.

“MCZ therefore believes that all forms of violence and destruction of property are deplorable and have no place in a civilised and modern society,” it said.

Instead of addressing the problems that demonstrators have been raising, police have been accused of being repressive, as it teargassed, brutally-attacked and arrested protesters.

Pushing the boundaries, the MCZ said they can no longer take a backseat and be “indifferent in the face of political and economic decay that has become both a disgrace and a scandal to the goodness of God’s beautiful creation, Zimbabwe”.

Zimbabwe — a largely Christian country — was once regarded as the jewel of Africa but it has become a basket case at the hands of Mugabe’s failed 36-year rule.

“We appeal to those who watch over God’s people and those in authority not to abuse their God-given power.

“We urge all Zimbabweans to turn to God and most importantly, to care for one another. MCZ condemns all forms of violence which are taking place,” the church said.

Mugabe and his party officials have threatened to react violently to the demonstrations, a warning analysts said could trigger civil unrest.

Quoting the Bible, MCZ said “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sins and will heal their land”.

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