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Zimbabwe Churchmen  Present 'National Vision' To President Mugabe


Zimbabwean church leaders presented President Robert Mugabe Friday with what they called a "National Vision” paper suggesting how to end the national crisis.

The paper was prepared by Churches in Zimbabwe, an organization which includes the Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwe Council of Churches and the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops Conference. Representatives met with President Mugabe, Security Minister Didymus Mutasa and Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi.

The church group said the document was prepared based on extensive consultations with civil society organizations and opposition politicians, and examined issues such as land reform, the economy, the constitution and possible national reconciliation.

The church leaders said their main recommendation was the opening of a discussion involving all of the country's stakeholders. But some in the opposition have criticized the church initiative, saying its leaders have let Mr. Mugabe manipulate them. The organization invited the president to a prayer rally earlier this year.

Mr. Mugabe and his ministers said they would examine the document carefully. But one source present at the meeting described the president’s response to the paper as “lukewarm,” in particular with respect to its call for a rewrite of the constitution.

Bishop Trevor Manhanga of the Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe gave an account of the church leaders' meeting with Mr. Mugabe. Manhanga objected to reports the president essentially dismissed the document and the standing of the churchmen.

More reports From VOA's Studio Seven For Zimbabwe...

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