SA Churches Blast Zim Leaders

A high-powered delegation of South African Churches on Thursday blasted Zimbabwean leaders and their African colleagues whom they said continued to cling on to power while their citizens were suffering.

Reverend Elijah Maswanganyi, who led the delegation that attended a week-long conference of the Association of Evangelicals in Africa held in Bulawayo, in solidarity with the people of Zimbabwe, said such actions deserved strong condemnation.

Maswanganyi said there was an urgent need of young blood in the leadership in Zimbabwe and Africa if the socio-political situation and economies of African countries were to improve. "The problem with our leadership today is that of holding onto power for too long and they seem not too keen to pass on the torch to others. The main reason for clinging to power is simply because of their sins, and they don't trust anyone."

He told the SADC delegates that the region urgently needed leaders with no chieftainship, autocracy and beliefs in royalty if southern African nations were to develop.

The 38 church leaders from 14 SADC countries - who attended the SADC churches solidarity conference, also strongly slammed the NGOs Bill which they described as "poisonous" and " detrimental to human life development".

They said only heartless and inhumane lawmakers during the time of Egyptian ruler, Pharaoh, could craft such "harsh and crude" laws .

When time came for Archbishop Pius Ncube to speak, the whole conference was temporarily stalled after Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) operatives invaded the room, outnumbering the delegates.

Ncube, however, did not present his address on the current Zimbabwe crisis at the scheduled time because of the CIO disruption. He did so on Friday morning amid applause from SADC church leaders who praised him for being "brave", "just" and "sincere" to the whole world.

Ncube said there was urgent need for the SADC region and the international community to exert more pressure on Mugabe and his government so that the country could return to the rule of law.

o Meanwhile, the churches on Friday signed a Bulawayo Declaration, which called on all the parties to work towards promoting good governance and leadership through biblical principles that will reduce political intolerance, violence and corruption.