Tuesday, 9 November 2021

LOCAL CLERICS MEET ARCHBISHOP PF CANTERBURY IN ANTI SANCTIONS PUSH

Local church leaders have scored a major diplomatic breakthrough after engaging the head of the Anglican Church,  the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend Justin Welby, in England yesterday to whom they handed over a letter seeking support in the removal of illegal economic sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by the West.

Critically, the seven local clerics and one lady who are under the banner of the Zimbabwe Churches’ Sanctions Relief Initiative (ZICSRI), also requested Archbishop Welby to deliver another letter of request for the removal of sanctions to United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

The clerics, who were part of the official Zimbabwe delegation to the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Scotland, have been in London, lobbying for the removal of the sanctions that have affected the economy in the last two decades.

Head of Delegation, Reverend Dr Andrew Wutawunashe, told The Herald last night that they had made a major breakthrough in the fight against sanctions.

“As the ZICSRI, we met the Archbishop of Canterbury today (yesterday) and presented our case that the sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe are not achieving their intended target,” he said.

“If anything, the sanctions are affecting the ordinary people. So we have been working hard to get to where we are today.

“We finally met him (Archbishop of Canterbury) and he promised that he will take our other request letter to the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.”

Rev Wutawunashe, who is also chairman of the Zimbabwe Indigenous Interdenominational Council of Churches, said his delegation was requesting the removal of sanctions on Zimbabwe to improve the economy and the lives of ordinary citizens.

Other members of the delegation are Bishop Nehemiah Mutendi of the Zion Christian Church, Bishop Felix Mukonowengwe who is president of the National Elders Forum (NEF) and Head of Harvest Ministries International, Father Fidelis Mukonori from the Roman Catholic Church of Zimbabwe, Reverend Dr Farai Katsande, President of the Zimbabwe National Council of Pentecostal Churches, Bishop Trevor Manhanga of Pentecostal Assemblies of Zimbabwe, Ms Elizabeth Karonga who is a member of the National Elders Forum and  Bishop Peter Zvanaka Mukwena from Faith for the Nation Campaign (FANA).

It is understood that the clerics plan to deliver letters of request for the removal of sanctions to United States President Joe Biden and the Vatican City.

Interestingly, as part of his re-engagement during COP26, President Mnangagwa met Secretary of State for the Vatican City, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, who said the church was against sanctions.

The President requested that Cardinal Parolin relays his request to Pope Francis that he should loudly condemn the sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe.

President Mnangagwa, who engaged a number of global leaders during COP26, met President Biden and asked him what wrong the people of Zimbabwe have done to Americans.

The President said President Biden promised to contact him after the climate change meeting.

SADC has been calling for the removal of sanctions and has designated October 25 as the day of solidarity against the embargo.

This year, the UN sent a Special Rapporteur, Professor Alena Douhan, to Zimbabwe to assess the impact of the sanctions. Prof Douhan said the sanctions are illegal and have crippled the economy.

It is felt that the sanctions, combined with the effects of climate change, have made life difficult for Zimbabweans, hence the need to urgently remove the sanctions.

The local Bishops want powerful church leaders to publicly condemn the sanctions on Zimbabwe.

On the sidelines of COP26, the Bishops’ engaged a number of representatives from nations that have imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe seeking the unconditional removal of the sanctions on humanitarian grounds.

The Bishops are expected to continue engaging the Church and other bodies to join the call for the removal of sanctions which have affected the manufacturing sector and ordinary people. Herald

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