Today the Secretary General of the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops’ Conference, Father Fradereck Chiromba was amongst those attending the signing of the power-sharing deal which has sparked new hope for the people of Zimbabwe.
The Zimbabwean Catholic Church has a strong history of both providing care and support for those affected by the country’s economic, social and political crises and repeatedly challenging the Zimbabwean government to reflect the needs of its people.
Following the signing, Father Chiromba said: “It was a joyful and momentous occasion. But, behind the signatures on that piece of paper are huge challenges ahead for Zimbabwe’s so-called government of national unity. The celebrations have not really started yet, the people of Zimbabwe have just heaved a sigh of relief.
“One of the immediate challenges is getting food to people. There is a great need to provide basic food aid as people are coping with a bad harvest and of course the country’s dire economic situation. There are also no medicines in the hospitals, doctors do not even have aspirins to give out and there is the situation of the three million or so Zimbabweans living in neighbouring countries.
“And of course development doesn’t work unless it goes hand in hand with healing and reconciliation for those people who have been traumatised by the violence. The Catholic Church has always played a pivotal role in prioritising the needs of the people and will continue to do so as we all hope and pray that peoples’ lives will now change for the better.”
The Catholic aid agency CAFOD has one of the largest presences within Zimbabwe of the British aid agencies and has worked in the country for nearly three decades. Its emergency food relief programme is currently targeting 110,000 people. It is also working on HIV programmes, water projects and sustainable agriculture schemes.
© Independent Catholic News 2008