TORTURE AND MURDER IN ZIMBABWE AS A PRAYER RALLY IS ATTACKED
On Sunday, 11 March 2007 Mugabe’s ZANU PF government attacked people who had gathered for a prayer meeting in Harare. Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai was tortured. Credible sources claimed that police had taken turns to lift Tsvangirai and smash him against a wall. Tsvangirai had lost consciousness three times but they continued to assault him.
Beatrice Mutetwa, Tsvangirai’s lawyer said, “I believe Morgan Tsvangirai is in a deplorable condition…” Another lawyer Innocent Chagonda who visited Tsvangirai said, “he was in bad state that you could not distinguish between the head and face and he could not see properly.”
Tsvangirai won the March 2002 presidential elections but the State and its media manipulated the results. Tsvangirai is the leader with legitimacy to rule Zimbabwe because he has the consent of the majority. He has survived many attempts to end his life.
Gift Tandare, an MDC activist, aged 30, was shot dead at this Sunday prayer rally. Tandare left a wife and three children. Lovemore Madhuku head of the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) had been taken to main Harare Hospital after Police assaulted him and was reported to be in serious condition. Madhuku is said to have fractured an arm following severe assaults by the police. Onlookers say heavily armed Police officers at the scene, advanced on the crowd and fired multiple shots at the unarmed civilians.
MDC Secretary-General Tendai Biti, Authur Mutambara leader of the other MDC faction, MP Job Sikhala and Grace Kwinje and Nelson Chamisa of the Tsvangirai side have been arrested. Over 110 members who attended this prayer meeting were arrested and severely assaulted by the heavily armed police.
MISA Zimbabwe states that the whereabouts of Tsvangirai Mukwazhi a photojournalist who freelances for Associated Press remained unknown on 12 March 2007. Amnesty International Director of Africa Progaramme, Kolawole Olaniyan called for the release of detainees. “We are calling on the Zimbabwean government to immediately release all those arrested for peaceful protests,”
Mark Ellis, Director of the International Bar Association States, “The Government of Zimbabwe continues to disregard its obligations to protect the human rights of its citizens. Action must be taken to hold those state agents, of all levels, responsible for crimes committed against persons legitimately exercising their fundamental right to free assembly.’
The Foundation of Reason & Justice condemns this capturing and torturing of key Church leaders, Civic and Opposition leaders at this Sunday prayer meeting organized by a Christian Alliance.
“The violence of the wicked shall sweep them away, because they refuse to do justice.” Proverbs 21:7
Politicians Condemn the Prayer Meeting Attack
United States of America
“The United States government condemns the brutal and unwarranted actions of the government of Zimbabwe [on] March 11 in attacking its citizens peacefully gathered to exercise their legitimate democratic rights at a prayer meeting in the Harare suburb of Highfield,” State Department spokesperson Sean McCormack said.
New Zealand Foreign Minister Winston Peters called on Zimbabwe Prime Minister Robert Mugabe to immediately release opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai and his colleagues from captivity.
Mr. Peters went on to say, “This latest incident is another sign of the desperation of the Mugabe regime, which has banned all political rallies. The situation in Zimbabwe is appalling. Many Zimbabweans cannot feed themselves in a country that was once the food basket of Africa.”
New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark has described the arrest of Zimbabwe’s opposition leader as disgraceful. “The Movement for Democratic Change leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, and more than 100 opposition members have been arrested in the capital, Harare, during attempts to hold a prayer meeting.”
German President of EU urged ZANU PF government to release those arrested and to allow them legal help and medical care.
Foreign Minister Massimo D’Alema condemned the 11 March 2007 assault in Harare.
Tony Leon, leader of the Opposition Party, the Democratic Alliance said: “The arrest and detention … of Tsvangirai should serve as a final wake up call to President Mbeki that he simply cannot afford to continue with a business as usual approach to … the growing crisis in Zimbabwe.”
African Christian Democratic Party MP, Cheryllyn Dudley in the National Assembly called for a debate on shocking human rights abuses taking place in Zimbabwe. Cheryllyn’s Notice of the Motion states, “… Zimbabwe government continues to ban all public gatherings, including prayer meetings and brutally attacks and imprison opposition leaders in the run up to the 2008 elections.”
Cosatu Secretary Generaly Zwelinzima Vavi told the Cape Argus that the incident (in Zimbabwe) proved that South Africa’s ‘silent diplomacy’ had not worked.
Deafening Silence of the Western Churches
It’s very sad that Churches and Christians in South Africa and Western World are still silent about the atrocities going on in Zimbabwe. Christians have a mandate to speak up for the oppressed (Proverbs 31:8) and to rescue those being led to death.
“Rescue those being led to death hold back those staggering towards slaughter.” Proverbs 24:11
The Bible commands Christians to love their neighbors and to stand with them in times of trouble. Zimbabwe is in need of the support of the Western Churches. If non- Christian politicians could speak against abuses of people attacked in a prayer meeting how much more should Christians? Christianity is a banned religion in Zimbabwe but it is not official declared. Zimbabwean Christians are allowed to worship God as long as that doesn’t affect social and economical change. The Bible teaches that faith without works is dead and Zimbabwean Christians are not allowed to put their faith into effect. That is the reason why Christian charity to the starving is banned. The ZANU PF government of president Robert Mugabe shall not prevail against God.
Jesus is the Lord of every area of life including politics. King of kings, and Lord of lords, Rev.19: 16.
Envoys will come out of Egypt; Ethiopia will quickly stretch out her hands to God, Psalms 68:31.
War Against God and Christians
In 2003 Mugabe’s government attacked people on a prayer meeting in Harare. In June 2005 ZANU PF government bulldozed Churches. Public prayers for justice were banned. Churches that accommodated the homeless and fed the poor were threatened and raided by police over night. In Bulawayo 400 women in prayer were attacked by Police and more than 30 were seriously injured. Christians in Zimbabwe live in fear, many are beaten by Police or ZANU PF government militias for merely mentioning the words Truth or Justice.
In June 2003 Reverend Chimbuya of Christ Church in Masvingo told the Daily News: “I was ordered not to say prayers which are political. “They even told me that I should write down my prayers for them to scrutinise.” Chimbuya said he was not a political activist but a preacher. “I just believe in peace and unity in the country,”
In Bulawayo, Roman Catholic Archbishop Pius Ncube has been repeatedly intimidated and harassed by the police for leading “anti-government prayers“.
In Bulawayo police attacked 400 women who had gathered for an all-night prayer meeting on the eve of Election Day and severely assaulted them. 38 were severely injured and hospitalised. The focus of the Women’s Prayer Meeting was to pray for peace.
Churches and Organisation distributing food to starving Zimbabweans have been banned. Food importation is charged exorbitant taxes at the border.
South African President Thabo Mbeki still silent
In face of these open abuses and atrocities in Zimbabwe South African leaders, specifically President Thabo Mbeki, support Mugabe. Thabo Mbeki refused to comment on the 11 March arrest and attacks of people at a prayer meeting. Mbeki’s spokesman, Mukoni Ratshinga said “you are not going to get a comment from the President.” Thabo Mbeki has held up the world solution to the crisis in Zimbabwe, Tony Leon leader of Democratic Alliance said.
Mr. Mbeki is a strong supporter of the murderous government in Zimbabwe. His quiet diplomacy is a tactic to deceive the Western World into believing that he cares about the poor and oppressed in Zimbabwe. Contrary to reports of atrocities and serious starvation that is claiming more than 1000 people every day, President Mbeki proclaims that there is no crisis in Zimbabwe. This clearly shows that he does not care about the oppressed and dying in Zimbabwe.
“The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern” Proverbs 29:7.
Zimbabwe is in a war. In June 2005 homes of more than 1 million people were bulldozed during the infamous “Operation Murambatsvina.” Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) offices were bombed. Many MDC parliamentarians have been arrested, tortured or killed. Independent journalists were arrested tortured and some killed. Many International journalists have been harassed, detained and banned from Zimbabwe.
More than 4000 productive commercial farms have been invaded and looted by State militias, Police, Soldiers and the so-called War Veterans. Most of the White owned farms that were seized now belongs to pro-State church dignitaries, senior members of the Army and other government officials.
Zimbabwean based human rights NGO’s and Church based organisations have documented over 800 000 cases of torture and gross human rights abuses. Following destruction of homes in 2005 over a million Zimbabweans have become refugees in their country. Tens of thousands are living in the bush without basic needs or access to hospitals.
Major hospitals are operating without doctors and nurses. Some few months ago Dr. David Paririnyatwa Minister of Health and Child Welfare acknowledged that in Masvingo Province 4 Hospitals are operating without a single doctor. Nurses and doctors have fled abusive taxes, starvation and persecutions. Tens of thousands of women have turned to prostitution in order to eke out a living. Millions of Zimbabweans have left the country. More than 2 million are in South Africa because it is the nearest destination. Currently more than 2000 people are dying every week in Zimbabwe. The majority of them are Christians.
Zimbabwean government is waging a serious war against God and His people. The difference between the war in Zimbabwe and other civil wars in Africa is that the long oppressed Zimbabweans have not acquired firearms to fight and defend their women, families and property.
“Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord who is great and awaresome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, and your daughters, your wives and your homes.” Nehemiah 4:14
The cries for life are high in Zimbabwe. Genocide is taking place in Zimbabwe. Would you and your Church continue to be silent? Why not consider contacting your government officials to urge them to take drastic action on Zimbabwe? Why not practically support the suffering in Zimbabwe. Prayer without action is good as nothing. Biblical prayer is the foundation for action.
Foundation of Reason & Justice shall exist to further the cause of freedom and justice in Zimbabwe. Contact us for detailed information on our plan of action to save Zimbabweans.
15 March 2007
Published by Foundation of Reason & Justice. Permission to reproduce is granted provided due acknowledgement is given.