Harare, Zimbabwe, Jan 22, 2019 / 00:16 am
As political protests in Zimbabwe have turned violent and even fatal, reportedly leaving at least 12 people dead, the bishops of the country have called for peaceful resolutions to the crisis.
“Zimbabwe is burning; its economy is hurting; its people are suffering. Many ordinary Zimbabweans express disappointment that hoped-for changes are yet to be felt, in access to employment, cash and broad stakeholder consultations. Our quasi currency, operating with multiple exchange rates, is fueling a national crisis,” the bishops said in a Jan. 17 letter.
“We call upon [the] Government and the Opposition to put their differences aside and work together to free Zimbabwe from economic shackles and international ostracisation.”
Last week, a sharp spike in fuel prices in Zimbabwe sparked violent protests from members of groups who oppose the current government.
According to the BBC, Presidential spokesman George Charamba told local journalists that the opposition group Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) was responsible for the violence.
“The MDC leadership has been consistently pushing out the message that they will use violent street action to overturn the results of (last year's) ballot,” Caramba said.
However, the United Nations called on the Zimbabwe government to stop using “excessive” force to cull the protests, after reports surfaced that the government was conducting door-to-door searches and beating, torturing and using live ammunition on the protestors.
Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa announced that he would be returning early from a foreign tour in order to help address the situation.