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Bishops Rally behind #ZimbabweanLivesMatter Campaign

Zimbabwe’s Catholic bishops and the law society have criticised the government for alleged human rights abuses and a crackdown on dissent, adding to growing concerns over authorities’ treatment of opponents amid a worsening economic crisis. The Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops Conference said in a pastoral letter that the country had a multi-layered crisis, including economic collapse, deepening poverty, corruption and human rights abuses. “Fear runs down the spine of many of our people today. The crackdown on dissent is unprecedented,” the bishops said in the letter, read out at Catholic churches on Sunday. “Is this the Zimbabwe we want? To have a different opinion does not mean to be an enemy.” In response, information minister Monica Mutsvangwa criticised the head of the bishops conference, Archbishop Robert Ndlovu, and described the pastoral letter as an “evil message” meant to stoke a “Rwanda-type genocide”. “His (Ndlovu’s) transgressions acquire a geopolitical dimension as the chief priest of the agenda of regime change that is the hallmark of the post-imperial major Western powers for the last two decades,” Mutsvangwa said in a statement.