Zimbabweans living in Christchurch did on Saturday what their compatriots at home can not – speak out.
About 50 people marched to condemn the increasing violence in Zimbabwe, joining a series of weekend events around the
Zimbabwe is wracked by political violence and repression, and poverty and unemployment are endemic. Save Zimbabwe Campaign general secretary
Mandla Ahke Dube, who led Saturday’s march from Cathedral Square to the Bridge of Remembrance, said 85 had died in his troubled homeland since March 29’s
A friend of Dube’s, who lives 60km north ofHarare, texted him just before the march saying their country had descended into “hell on earth”.
Dube said Zimbabweans appreciated that Christchurch people turned out on a cold evening to show solidarity. New Zealand’s historic links to Zimbabwe were
strong and dated back to the 1950s when Invercargill-born Sir Garfield Todd was prime minister of Southern Rhodesia.
“We are all connected in this great circle of life. I was inspired by the visible support of kiwis going out of their way to be in solidarity. It’s uplifting,”
Dube said. “These are brothers and sisters, our mothers, our whanau being brutalised, tortured, raped and murdered. Not a single life needs to be lost because of
the political process around a change of leadership.”
The national director of Christchurch-based development and aid agency, Christian World Service (CWS), Jonathan Fletcher, said CWS supported the push to end violence and called for free and fair
elections this Friday.
A fortnight ago the Zimbabwe Governmentsuspended food distribution by humanitarian agencies, including two CWS-supported groups.
The heads of the main New Zealand churches have issued an open letter to Zimbabwe churches saying they are deeply disturbed by the continual reports from Zimbabwe of ever increasing levels of
violence and deprivation.
Sunday 22 June was designated a global day of prayer for Zimbabwe.