We Were Only Calling for National Cohesion – Catholic Bishops

Zimbabwe Catholics Bishop Conference, Secretary General Father Frederick Chiromba has said the recent Pastoral Letter to Government was not intended at sowing divisions in the country as alleged by Information Minister, Monica Mutsvangwa.

Responding to the allegations by Minister Mutsvangwa that they had waded into politics, Fr Chiromba said the Bishops were only calling for national cohesion.

“I read that (Mutsvangwa’s response) but I couldn’t find in the Pastoral Letter where there is any suggestion of division, if anything the Bishops are calling for national cohesion they are saying we don’t know what lies in the future at the moment we are facing this Covid-19 and there will other challenges in the future, divided we cannot overcome those challenges, its only when we are united that we overcome lets dialogue and be united now.” said Fr Chiromba.

He said the clergymen had raised red flags over the deteriorating socio-economic situation at all levels of Government but nothing has come to fruition and the Pastoral letter was a renewal of the 2006 discussion document titled ‘The Zimbabwe We Want’.

“We can debate how to address the issue but it doesn’t make these issues go away and I can assure you that these issues have been raised directly at all levels with Government they raised these issues in 2006 in the discussion document the Zimbabwe We Want and we raised it in the Pastoral Letter its now 14 years and it was a matter of renewing the document”

Father Chiromba explained the catchphrase “The March Is On” on the letter saying it was a recent quotation from a speaker at the funeral of American civil rights leader, John Robert Lewis.

“When you look at the Pastoral Letter its a quotation of someone who gave a speech at the funeral of the late John Robert Lewis a civil right activist in America, he was recognised for continuing to promote human rights. Human welfare is basically to do with the aspirations of humanity. That title has nothing to do with the 31 of July. It does not refers to a physical march it refers to the transformation of life.

“When you look straightly at the Pastoral Letter it has nothing new in it apart from issues that are already in the public domain already in Zim that are affecting ordinary Zimbabwe and these are issue that the bishops were addressing the humanitarian situation the plight of the people the deteriorating economic situation, human rights, the politics of the country and this cannot be driven by a foreigner and there is no one behind it apart from Zimbabweans themselves,” he said.

Fr Chiromba said he had no idea why the Government was irked by the latter because it was “calling for national dialogue, we hope that moving forward this conversation will be sustained we would not want this to be just an event a Pastoral Letter that was published on the 14 of August and Government reacted and that was the end.”

The Pastoral Letter was presented at a time the country is grappling with a deteriorating socio-economic situation with the Government dismissing allegations of human rights violations as contained in the letter.

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