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Christian Alliance leaders arrested
Christian Alliance
January 31, 2007

This Friday (26 January 2007) the Zimbabwe Christian Alliance launched a chapter of the organisation in Kadoma as part of a nationwide drive to establish Christian leaders’ networks in the country’s ten provinces. More than 500 church leaders and Christian lay people were in attendance. The aim of establishing these networks is to create local Christian Alliance chapters as platforms to equip Christian leaders on church based advocacy and peace building.

In the course of the meeting just on the stroke of midday armed police details disrupted the launch arresting eight members of the Christian Alliance and a video camera man, who however was later released. The eight leaders from the Zimbabwe Christian Alliance are still in custody awaiting trial on Monday, (29 January). The state is alleging that the Alliance incited the crowd to violence. This allegation is totally baseless as the Christian Alliance exists to bring about peaceful social transformation in our beloved country .

The use of armed police to disrupt a religious meeting is a clear abuse of power and authority by the police. The continued harassment of Christian Alliance leadership by state agents is cause for concern to the Christian community at large as this infringes on freedom of worship, expression and association. The Christian Alliance leaders who were detained are Pastors; Ray Motsi, Ancelom Magaya,(visually impaired) Gerald Mubaira, Zvizai Chiponda, Watson Mugabe, Lawrence Berejina, Mr Jonah Gokova and Mr Pius Wakatama .

The unlawful detention of the church leaders comes at a time when the socio economic situation in Zimbabwe has deteriorated to alarming levels as evidenced by the strike by medical personnel in all the major hospitals and the pending industrial action by teachers. The majority of Zimbabweans are living far below the poverty datum line and thousands of children have failed to resume school because of lack of school fees. As Christian leaders no amount of intimidation will silence us as this would be tantamount to a denial of our faith and calling .We condemn this latest act of wanton violation of fundamental human rights and disregard of freedom of religion. We demand that the government opens up democratic space and start depoliticization and demilitarization of the public institutions to enable a peaceful social transformation in Zimbabwe.

"Let justice roll like a river and righteousness like a never ending stream "[Amos 5:24]

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