Religious leaders denounce sanctions | The herald
Office of Mashudu Netsianda Bulawayo
LOCAL religious leaders condemned corruption and denounced illegal sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by Western countries which they said should be urgently lifted.
The country’s successful land reform implemented in the early 2000s triggered the imposition of financial sanctions against Zimbabwe.
The European Union introduced sanctions commonly known as the Common Foreign Security Policy Framework (CFSP) imposed in February 2002, while the United States enacted the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (Zidera), which restricts support for the economy of Zimbabwe.
Speaking at the 5th annual National Service of Thanksgiving and Dedication at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair in Bulawayo on Sunday, religious leaders said the illegal sanctions were harming ordinary Zimbabweans.
Apostle Andrew Wutawunashe, founder of the Family of God church and chair of the Faith for the Nation campaign, urged churches to rally with government to demand the removal of
“The church has felt a heavy burden of illegal sanctions, which harm our people. They victimize the poor and when you are a Zimbabwean and advocate for sanctions you come back to destroy your nation and the economy, ”he said.
Apostle Wutawunashe said the call for the removal of sanctions was based on a conviction of the Word of God.
“With regard to the sanctions imposed on our nation, we were inspired, not by political persuasion, but by the conviction of the Word of God. Sanctions are a heavy burden on the poor, ”he said.
“Thanks to these sanctions, we end up not being able to buy any equipment that could save a baby in the hospital, you put a burden on your nation and oppress people and tie up a nation.”
Last month, Apostle Wutawunashe, along with a team of local clerics under the banner of the Zimbabwe Churches’ Sanctions Relief Initiative, engaged Anglican Church leader Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, England, to whom they delivered a letter asking for help in lifting the illegal economic sanctions.
“We were once colonized by the same country that today tied us up with sanctions, which is like a follow-up punishment.
We are pressuring countries that have imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe to remove them in the name of the suffering masses and the economy, ”Apostle Wutawunashe said.
The head of the Christian Church of Zion, Bishop Néhémie Mutendi, praised the Second Republic for stabilizing the economy despite the sanctions.
“If someone thinks that by evolution he belongs in his place, he should be a patriot. How can you be a patriot if you ignore your ancestors and demand sanctions? ” he said.
“Zimbabwe is the only country we have. As aboriginal people, we should be patriots.
Bishop Mutendi praised the government for spearheading the land reform program, which corrected skewed land ownership that favored whites.
“It seems to me that from Cape Town to Cairo, President Mnangagwa is the only head of state at the head of a nation that has managed to own land. We are now being punished by Western countries with sanctions for our land reform, ”he said.
Bishop Mutendi blasted corrupt individuals and urged citizens and the church to play a role in complementing the government’s efforts in the fight against the scourge.
“Despite these illegal sanctions, we survive without queues for bread or fuel. Sanctions and institutionalized corruption are twin devils. “As a church, we will continue to oppose sanctions and demand their removal because they harm ordinary Zimbabweans,” he said.
Bishop Mutendi said the sanctions hinder progress and that is why the Church says they should be removed unconditionally.
Zimbabwe’s Pentecostal Assemblies Bishop Trevor Manhanga weighed in saying that sanctions and corruption are two “demons”.
“They are Siamese twins. Let us stand up and build our country. There are too many people in Zimbabwe who love corruption and I challenge everyone to fight sanctions and corruption. You don’t have to be a politician to fight corruption and sanctions, ”he said.
Bishop Manhanga said every Zimbabwean has a collective responsibility to build Zimbabwe and make a difference.
“We should all be ready to fight for our country and when we unite we can defeat our enemies. A divided church is detrimental to the well-being of the nation and we must unite, ”he said.
“When we are united as a nation, there is nothing impossible for us as Zimbabweans, absolutely nothing. We pray to God to raise the walls of integrity in Zimbabwe and we need men and women of integrity.
Bishop Manhanga urged Zimbabweans in the diaspora to return home and help build the country. Despite the frustration inflicted by the illegal sanctions, the country has shown resilience with the government under the Second Republic implementing strong policies and programs to counter the effects of the sanctions.
Sadc maintained that the economic sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe hurt the entire southern African region, hence the bloc on October 25, 2019, embarked on a campaign to speak with one voice against the sanctions against Zimbabwe.
The region has since declared October 25 as the day they will join the Zimbabwean people in pushing for the lifting of illegal sanctions.
Zimbabwe and all the Sadc countries are now carrying out various activities in their respective countries to highlight the harmful effects of the sanctions and also call for their unconditional abolition.