The Catholic bishops of southern Africa have accused Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe of perpetrating genocide, saying: “We, the Catholic bishops of southern Africa, call on Mugabe to step down immediately.”
Their remarks came in a Tuesday statement from the Southern African Catholic Bishops Conference (SACBC). Presented by SACBC president and Archbishop of Johannesburg Buti Tlhagale, the statement resulted from a Praetoria meeting between the bishops of Botswana, South Africa and Swaziland.
According to the Catholic Information Service for Africa (CISA), the bishops called on regional leaders to cut ties with Mugabe, warning that a failure to do so would make them guilty of “passive genocide.”
“The appalling tragedy in Zimbabwe means that the time of talking is over,” the bishops said. They asserted that mediation and negotiations have failed, claiming that six months of talks have resulted in stalemate.
They called on the 15-member Southern African Development Community (SADC), which opened another summit on Zimbabwe in Pretoria on Monday, to stop supporting and giving credibility to the Mugabe regime.
“Failing this, SADC leaders accept complicity in creating the conditions that have resulted in starvation, displacement, disease and death for ordinary Zimbabweans. This is nothing short of passive genocide,” the bishops said, CISA reports.
They urged that Mugabe step down to allow a coalition interim government to be formed for the purposes of national recovery and to prepare for immediate internationally supervised and credible presidential elections.