Catholic Bishops in Zimbabwe Decry “politically related” Violence amid Assault of Seniors

Members of the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops' Conference (ZCBC). Credit: Courtesy Photo

Catholic Bishops in Zimbabwe are decrying violence against elderly persons in the Southeastern African nation that they say is “politically related”.

A video circulating on social media shows elderly persons in Murehwa, some 100 km north of Zimbabwe’s capital city, Harare, being publicly flogged while being interrogated for associating themselves with a political party.

Members of the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops' Conference (ZCBC) condemn the assault, which took place on January 8, describing it as a “barbaric act of violence”. 

In their Thursday, January 12 collective statement, ZCBC members say, "It is disturbing that the violence is being meted out against senior citizens, people who should be enjoying the rights brought about by our independence.” 

“What is more worrisome is that the violence captured in the video is politically related," Catholic Bishops in Zimbabwe say.


They urge the people of God in the African nation to refrain from any form of political violence ahead of the general elections scheduled to take place in July 2023.

“As the nation heads towards the harmonized elections, we urge all political players to desist from the use of violence and the use of young people to commit violent crimes," the Catholic Church leaders say, adding that politicians should not use violence to gain political mileage.

ZCBC members say the rights and freedoms of Zimbabweans need to be respected at all times.

“Citizens of this nation have rights enshrined in our Constitution. Among those rights is the freedom of choice, association, and political rights," they say.

The Catholic Church leaders call upon politicians to be responsible in their campaigns.

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“We would like to urge all parties to be responsible in their campaigns. Sell to the people your ideologies, and convince them with your arguments," they say, adding that political candidates need to respect the choices of the citizenry. 

ZCBC members further say that no Zimbabwean "should be intimidated or coerced, and worse still, be beaten to make a choice."

Intimidating the people of God "speaks against human dignity,” they add in their January 12 statement signed by the Catholic Bishops in Zimbabwe.

“As a nation, we have in the past seen a lot of violence around elections; let this election be different,” the Catholic Church leaders say. 

Magdalene Kahiu is a Kenyan journalist with passion in Church communication. She holds a Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). Currently, she works as a journalist for ACI Africa.