Bishops of Southern Africa (IMBISA) have sent an open letter addressed to President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, SADC President.
We, the Catholic Bishops of IMBISA (Inter-Regional Meeting of the Bishops of Southern Africa – Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, Mozambique, Sao Tome e Principe, South Africa & Zimbabwe) gathered in Pretoria for our 9th Plenary Session, wish to address a very particular plea to the political leaders of the SADC region. We do this at a critical time in the life of the Zimbabwean Nation. We do this firstly and especially, out of a deep concern for the suffering people of Zimbabwe.
We acknowledge the important role played by SADC in facilitating the Global Political Agreement (GPA) which led directly to the formation of the Government of National Unity (GNU). We acknowledge too, the courage of the three Principals in the GNU, namely President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and deputy […]
Many people are leaving Zimbabwe for a better life elsewhere rather than go hungry and not have a job at home. But some people leave the country because of intimidation resulting from their political beliefs.
Gloria* is one such person. When she lived in Zimbabwe, she supported the opposition and attended rallies. By doing so, Gloria was exposing herself to violence and intimidation.
“In Zimbabwe I was involved in political activities – opposition activities. On many occasions I was threatened beaten or followed. Sometimes I slept in police custody because of attending the rally, so I had to leave for those reasons, it was no longer safe for me,” says Gloria.
Far from being a safe haven, her escape to South Africa, several years ago, presented other problems. It took three years to be given the legal documentation which would grant Gloria asylum and allow her to breathe easily in her new […]
In the gentle warmth of a mid-winter African sun, Moffat Mpofu seeks shade beside his small thatched hut. Beside him his wife Sarah stretches out on a thin grass mat, their youngest daughter resting quietly across her knees. But the peaceful scene hides a distressing story.
Mr Mpofu, 49, tested positive for HIV in December 2008, and has since been struggling with his health. In impoverished southern Zimbabwe, poor health means no work and no pay, and no pay means lean times for Mpofu’s family. With six of his seven children still living at home Mr Mpofu says it has been difficult.
“I haven’t been feeling well for quite some time so I haven’t been able to save much money,” Mpofu said.
When in good health he manages to earn some income thatching the roofs of local huts, charging between 200 and 300 rand – about $25 to US$37 per hut. Providing […]
While Elvis Presley was famous for his fried peanut butter sandwiches and his voracious appetite, Elvis Ncube in Zimbabwe is lucky if he gets a daily meal of porridge and beans.
Elvis’ mother left for Botswana for a short period to find work in 2005, but she never returned. Life in Madabe village, southern Zimbabwe, is tough for Elvis, 23, and his sister Edita, 19.
“I am in charge of the household, so I can’t get work when I’m looking after the children,” says Elvis.
Up to one quarter of Zimbabwe’s children are said to be orphans. The AIDS crisis is mainly to blame for robbing families of the parents and leaving children in the care of grandparents – or alone to fend for themselves.
But with the deepening economic and food crises, children are increasingly left behind as their parents go to search for work abroad. The challenges the sons and daughters […]
Widespread hunger in rural Zimbabwe means that Kembo Ndlovu, head of Lupaka primary school, doesn’t just have to worry about nourishing his pupils’ minds, but also their bodies.
Children who don’t get enough food at home, won’t have the energy to go to school and if they do, nagging hunger pangs will make it harder for them to learn. The children will also be more exposed to disease and illness, something that could put them in a vulnerable position for life.
“Hunger is counterproductive,” says Ndlovu. “I understand in previous years the pass rate used to be high, but now it has gone down.” Having suffered a devastating economic meltdown in recent years, many of Zimbabwe’s 11 million population are struggling to keep afloat. Nowhere is the scale of this crisis more evident than in rural areas like those around Lupaka, where residents struggle even to feed their families, let alone […]
They escaped with their lives from a country in collapse. They fled often with nothing. They came to the region’s richest and most powerful nation looking for protection. However, they have been welcomed with abuse, discrimination and a blindness to their plight.
Approximately 3,000 Zimbabwean men, women, children and babies are trapped in dire conditions behind a wire perimeter camp in Musina, a border town in South Africa. The refugee camp on Musina’s Showgrounds is the size of a football field and contains neither adequate shelter, sanitation or protection for the vulnerable Zimbabweans.
They have fled a country where famine threatens half the population, a cholera epidemic goes unchecked, and violence and repression are widespread. The Government of South Africa regards them as economic migrants however, meaning they can be denied asylum.
“The situation for Zimbabwean refugees in Musina is horrendous,” said Sr Aine Hughes of Caritas South Africa (known nationally as […]
Until recently, wheelbarrows in Zimbabwe were used to ferry about huge amounts of cash to buy basic food stuffs. The economy was crumbling and hyperinflation meant that even though people were suddenly millionaires, all they could afford was a loaf of bread.
Then, as a cholera epidemic swept the country they were used to carry the frail and the dying to hospital. But as drought cracks the earth and leaves grain stores empty, one thing wheelbarrows aren’t being used for is farming.
“We are hunger stricken. We have nothing to eat,” says Privilege Makerele, a village group representative in rural Zimbabwe.
April is traditionally harvest time in Zimbabwe. But this year, lack of rain has meant that food production will be below national requirements.
“I’ve just returned from Zimbabwe. Corn fields were bare and medical centres were empty,” says Fr Pierre Cibambo, Africa Liaison Officer for Caritas Internationalis. “Vulnerable people such as children, […]
Children in Zimbabwe are fainting at school from hunger – well at least in the schools where there are teachers. The cost of travelling to their job and buying lunch is often too much for their small salaries.
At home, mum or dad might skip a meal or two so there’s enough left for the children. That’s if mum and dad are still around. Zimbabwe has the greatest number of AIDS orphans per capita in the world.
If mum and dad are still around, dad might have sold his farming tools that he used to farm his small patch of land with so he could buy a little food for the family. If there’s just mum, she might have been forced into sex work, because with no money, fallow fields, no jobs and a broken economy, how else do you get money to feed a family?
Just some examples of the impact […]
The Catholic Church in Zimbabwe says that the country’s leaders are playing politics while the people suffer. They point to a failure to announce a new inclusive Cabinet as going against the will of the people for coordinated action.
Zimbabwe’s Bishops say that a power sharing agreement signed in September could transform the country’s bleak future. Read the full statement.
But the Church leaders warn it could as easily unravel if politicians continue to seek political self-interest rather than address the challenges in the country. And the need for action is acute.
People are eating grass and bark in Zimbabwe and it will not be long before there are deaths from starvation. Malnutrition rates in children are relatively low considering the scale of the disaster. That’s because adults are going without food so that their children can eat.
Annual inflation has hit 231,000,000 percent, effectively strangling humanitarian agencies from carrying out their work. Despite […]
“The UN must also act proactively by sending observers to Zimbabwe to monitor any human rights abuses,” said Caritas Internationalis President Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga.
He is urging the UN Security Council to impose an immediate arms embargo on Zimbabwe. Church leaders in the country said that without international intervention Zimbabweans face genocide.
“As Pope Benedict XVI said to the UN last week, if states are unable to guarantee the protection of their people, the international community must intervene with the juridical means provided in the United Nations Charter and in other international instruments. It is indifference or failure to intervene that does the real damage,” said the Cardinal.
In a joint statement, signed by the Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops’ Conference and the Zimbabwe Council of Churches, church leaders all called for outside help to end post-poll unrest.
“Organised violence perpetrated against individuals, families and communities who are accused […]