Zimbabwe Bishops Urge Peace

General elections in Zimbabwe, expected in the second half of the year, will be as important in determining the country’s destiny as the 1980 vote that led to independence from Britain, the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops’ Conference said in a mid-March pastoral letter. The bishops urged Zimbabweans to “close the door to political intolerance, violence, impunity, lack of transparency and accountability, intimidation, corruption and open another [door] to a true democratic dispensation.” They said, “Free and fair elections should be possible with a new constitution and the necessary reforms in place.” The 2013 election “offers Zimbabwe a second chance,” the bishops said, citing the violence that erupted after the disputed 2008 election. The bishops called for tolerance and reminded Zimbabweans of the importance of credible electoral processes. They urged people to maintain a “peaceful atmosphere” throughout the election period.

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