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Zimbabwean Catholic says church groups in danger ‘at any time’

ICC Note

One of the leaders of Zimbabwean Catholic church expressed his fear of future attacks on churches and its members following the recent raids on churches and other Christian organizations.

By Bronwen Dachs

06/11/2008 Zimbabwe (CNS) — Zimbabwean church groups are “in danger of police interference at any time,” a Catholic official said after the Ecumenical Center in the capital, Harare , was raided June 9.

“No one is immune to these raids,” Alouis Chaumba, head of Zimbabwe ‘s Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace, said in a June 10 telephone interview from Harare .

Chaumba said he is “afraid of what may happen to me and my family and my friends,” noting that he knows many people who have been injured or had their property destroyed in the violence that followed late-March elections.

Harare ‘s Ecumenical Center houses a variety of groups, including the Student Christian Movement of Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe Christian Alliance.

Police are visible all over Zimbabwe , he said, noting that there are “roadblocks everywhere” with some rural areas impossible to reach. Police officers “make you get out of your vehicle and take everything out before they start searching, which can take hours,” he said.

Anglican bishops from Botswana, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe said in an early June pastoral letter that members of the Harare Diocese are being barred from praying in their churches, which “mirrors the persecution of Christians of the early church, and in this context we remind the perpetrators that then, as now, God still triumphs over evil.”

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