Leaders of the ecumenical consortiums, among them the Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC), Evangelical Fellowship Zimbabwe (EFZ) and Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace Harare, met the country’s security commanders on Wednesday.
Ambiguity enshrouds what prompted the closed-door engagement as the clerics reportedly declined to share details with the members of the press.
“Very productive meeting between the church leadership and the state security services,” Zimbabwe Council of Churches secretary-general Rev Dr Kenneth Mtata posted on his official Facebook platform.
Rodney Nare, the spokesperson of the group, was also cautious in his response. He told NewZimbabwe.com;
“What I can advise is that the meeting was a closed-door engagement. And therefore I cannot share content with you.”
Asked on Twitter what the agenda of the meeting was, EFZ Secretary-General Pastor Blessing Makwara wrote:
“Exploring cooperative and collaborative frameworks on peace and security.”
Albeit, there has been speculation that linked the meeting to their ongoing concerns over continued rights abuses by the armed forces as
Zimbabwe’s security forces have been accused of massive rights abuses since independence right from the 1980s Gukurahundi atrocities to date.
Lately, they came under the spotlight when troops deployed to quell wild demonstrations over election results in central Harare August 1 last year opened fire, killing 6 protesters and bystanders and injuring dozens more.
In January this year, 17 people also died in the hands of the armed forces while more were tortured after being accused of taking part in violent protests that rocked many parts of the country, and were more intense in Harare and Bulawayo.
Following the violence, church leaders also met VP Chiwenga and the Minister of Defence and War Veterans Oppah Muchinguri Kashiri this year in attempts to find solutions to the country’s myriad crises which have set the security forces against the masses.
The Wednesday meeting by the church leaders with the security chiefs comes a month after their meeting with central bank governor John Mangudya where they demanded an apology for misleading the nation into believing the bond note was equal to the US dollar.
Last year, the church leaders wrote to President Emmerson Mnangagwa urging him to restore political stability following the disputed polls.
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