Catholic bishops bemoan wasted years


THE Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops Conference (ZCBC) says in the last four decades, Zimbabwe lost an opportunity to redefine its history, foster national healing and to end corruption, international isolation and to save the collapse of the country’s infrastructure.


In their 40th anniversary of Zimbabwe’s independence pastoral letter on Thursday, the ZCBC raised concern over the non-effectiveness of the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission, whose mandate they described as being unclear in the promotion of peace and reconciliation in the country.

They said this is a missed opportunity as the lifespan of the NPRC is almost coming to an end.

While the ZCBC acknowledged that the first decade of independence witnessed achievements in education and health sectors, they said there are still a lot of missed opportunities to seek a different political path from what colonialism had chartered.

“The NPRC gives hope to promote healing and reconciliation in our nation.

“However, the NPRC is still to be fully operationalised and the duration of its mandate remains unclear, apart from other grey areas, which is leading to loss of confidence in the commission,” the ZCBC said.

“We have also failed to develop a political culture of tolerance.

“There are so many issues that need to be addressed like corruption, international isolation, collapsing infrastructure and emigration.”

The ZCBC said Zimbabwe’s gradual economic recession has led to closing down of industries, foreign investor flight, job losses, decline to agricultural activity and has also led to escalation of poverty.

“There are so many things that need to be addressed like corruption, international isolation, collapsing infrastructure and emigration.

“The greatest asset of any nation is its people and we keep losing our people for various reasons,” they said.

Some of the lost opportunities, they said, were failures by the government to acknowledge some of the country’s dark history such as the Gukurahundi era that wiped out around 20 000 civilians in the 1980s in Matabeleland and Midlands regions.

On COVID-19, the ZCBC warned that if vigorous efforts are not put in place to fight the virus, it may spell doom given that hospitals are not well equipped to combat the pandemic.

The ZCBC also reiterated the need to align legislation with the country’s constitution.