South Africa's clergy is demanding the
resignation of former President Thabo Mbeki as mediator of the ongoing power
sharing negotiations between President Mugabe's ZANU-PF party and the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). The clergy say Mbeki has
failed on various occasions to help find solutions to the political stalemate,
which they claim has undermined his credibility. They are also calling on the
international community, including the African Union to put more pressure on
President Mugabe to end the stalemate in forming a unity government aimed at
resolving the country's economic meltdown.
But supporters of Mbeki dismissed the clergy's demand. Bishop Paul Veryn
is the Head pastor of the Central Methodist Mission in South Africa. From
Johannesburg he tells reporter Peter Clottey that Zimbabwe's ongoing crisis is
an indictment of Mugabe's leadership.
think that is a fair comment by the church leaders particularly in view of the
fact that Thabo Mbeki has had enough time to change the situation. And I want
to tell you that I have between 1600 and 2000 Zimbabweans living in my church
and I see every one of them when they come into the building and I can tell you
that the circumstance of the ordinary person in the street has become
unbearable. In actual fact it is not unbearable it is a disgrace on the
leadership qualities of those people who have the responsibility of taking care
of people," Bishop Veryn said.
said the Zimbabweans living in his church have horror stories about how badly
they have been treated and the pressure for them to abscond into neighboring
countries just to survive the ongoing crisis.
are people who have either left because they cannot make ends meet or have been
harassed, and threatened and tortured and the rest of it in Zimbabwe. And truly
are one of the fundamentals of any mediation process must insist that there
must be a cessation of this carnage activity. And it actually hasn't it
actually made it much worse for Zimbabwean citizens," he noted.
said the leadership of Zimbabwe's ruling ZANU-PF party has failed to yield
power after its failed policies have plunged the country into an economic
the leaders can be big enough to say actually we have made huge mistakes, let's
give someone else an opportunity or if they break open the platform for
discussion. There are many other people including church leaders who could add
substantial critique as well as suggestions to what could solve the problem in
Zimbabwe," he said.
Paul Veryn said President Mugabe and his government have failed the people of
don't think the politicians have proved their mettle at all. I think they let
insecurities to get in the way of it and I think friends and favors have gotten
in the way of it. I think the way Morgan Tsvangirai for one has been treated is
despicable if one actually thinks he would be more than gracious in fact
saying, I would go for a government of national unity. He (Tsvangirai) actually
won the election that is the bottom line and Mugabe is illegitimate," Bishop
Paul Veryn pointed out.
said there was need for the international community to put more pressure on
President Mugabe and his ruling ZANU-PF government to end the political
feeling is that we need far more censure from SADC (Southern African
Development Community) and the African Union (AU). Mugabe should not be
permitted to go to those meetings anymore. He is not the rightful owner of that
position," he said.
The clergy, who represent the Roman Catholic,
Methodist, Anglican, Dutch Reformed, Lutheran and Rhema Church leaders
described Mugabe's cling to power as illegitimate. They said Zimbabweans spoke
on March 31, 2008 by electing a new leadership and called on