Buti Tlhagale OMI, Archbishop of Johannesburg on Zimbabwe Crisis

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The Catholic Church in Southern Africa, concerned about the deteriorating situation in Zimbabwe, speaks out. In his statement below, Buti Tlhagale OMI, Archbishop of Johannesburg and president of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference is calling leaders of Southern Africa Development Community (SADEC), the African Union (AU), the United Nations (UN), and other African leaders to break their silence and find diplomatic solutions to the confusion surrounding the March 29, 08 presidential elections in Zimbabwe. The situation in Zimbabwe is now worsening, with escalating violence and injury against innocent citizens. Archbishop Buti’s joins his voice to those of religious ledears in Zimbabwe  and the African Council of Religious Leaders (Religious for Peace) demanding action now to end the crisis in Zimbabwe.


Statement
by SACBC on Zimbabwe

(Issued
by Fr. Chris Townsend, media officer, SACBC, 10th April 2008)

The
deteriorating situation in Zimbabwe
calls for credible mediation.

The
situation in Zimbabwe
is of regional, continental and international concern. As President of the
Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference and on behalf of the Catholic
Community in Southern Africa, I call on the leaders of the Southern African
Development Community and the African Union to act swiftly to diffuse this
tension by mandating a mediator of sufficient international repute, such as
Kofi Annan, to ensure a solution that is acceptable to all Zimbabweans.

I
urge President Mbeki, the leaders of the Southern African Development Community
(SADC) and African Union leaders to use all of their influence and skill to intervene
for the release of the Zimbabwean election results.

The
apparent impunity and lack of respect for the democratic process that has
allowed this delay is a cause for grave concern. The postponement of the
release of the results has only fuelled tension and fear in Zimbabwe. The
credibility of a peaceful vote has been undermined by this delay and the
posturing by political parties. This time of uncertainty has created an
opportunity for lawlessness.

I
trust that the concerns and future of the people of Zimbabwe will be placed first.

Archbishop
Buti Tlhagale OMI.

Archbishop
of Johannesburg.

President
of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference.

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