17 August 2020
SUBJECT: ZCTU STAND BY THE ZIMBABWE CATHOLIC BISHOPS CONFERENCE PASTORAL LETTER
The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) is fully behind a pastoral letter by the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops (ZCBC) Conference of 14 August 2020 and calls upon the Government of Zimbabwe to stop its ill advised attacks on the men of God for chiding government on human rights abuses.
It is in the public domain and an open secret that the current government is perpetrating serious human rights violations in the country and *concerned* citizens like the Catholics can not just fold their arms and watch.
The ZCBC, just like they did during the colonial era as well as during President Robert Mugabe time, have a moral obligation to point out government transgressions and call upon the government to desist from such things.
It was pathetic to hear the government, through the Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa, describing the bishops as genocidal and evil-minded for publishing the Pastoral Letter. The Government claims the letter incites the public and makes unsubstantiated allegations against it yet evidence is abound of kidnappings, torture and arrests of citizens, including journalists doing their work.
What was more shocking was that the Minister used unpalatable, demeaning and inciteful words against the Bishops, that should not come from a so-called Honerable Minister. Words like " our narrow-minded, evil and genocidal" describing the Bishops are very unfortunate. Even Adolf Hitler's propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels would look at her with envy.
Also more disturbing was a personal attack on Bishop Christopher Ndlovu despite the fact that the letter was a collective effort by the ZCBC. The Minister went on a diatribe against the Archbishop and tries by all means to drag issues of regionalism and tribalism without success, making her a laughing stock. More astonishing was her efforts to link the Bishop to what happened to a Rwandan Bishop Athanase Seromba, during the Rwanda genocide.
The speech seriously exposed the Minister and Government, rather than the Bishops, as paddlers of hate, tribalism, racism and regionalism. In fact the speech was reckless, full of hate language and meant to incite their supporters against the Bishops. We view that attack on the Bishops as a warning to level headed, critical and independent religious leaders to gag them from pointing out social ills. The church must be free to operate and play an oversight role on governance issues. Mutsvangwa's statement must be withdrawn and the Minister be made to account for it in the courts of law.
ZCTU STAND BY THE ZIMBABWE CATHOLIC BISHOPS CONFERENCE PASTORAL LETTER
17 August 2020