The Most Revd Dr. Thabo Makgoba, the Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, today called on President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe to put an end to police persecution of the church in Zimbabwe. He was reacting to the action of police in stopping the annual prayer retreat of clergy from the Diocese of Harare.
In a statement issued in Cape Town, Archbishop Makgoba said:
"I deplore the shocking action of the Zimbabwean police on Tuesday in preventing the clergy of the Diocese of Harare from holding their annual prayer retreat at Peterhouse School.
"I call on President Mugabe to ensure that the religious freedom of all Zimbabweans, and especially persecuted Anglicans, is respected, and to instruct the police to allow the churches freedom of assembly and worship.
"We affirm Bishop Chad Gandiya, his clergy and people at this time. As they share in the sufferings of Christ, may they gain strength from the experience and never give in to a cynical and sinister government.
"The forthcoming season of Epiphany speaks of our hope that the incarnate Christ breaks all boundaries, and that He will ultimately break the power of President Mugabe and those of his supporters who carry out these deeds, and bring freedom to Zimbabwe.
"I also call on our ecumenical friends and our partners in the Anglican Communion to ask their governments to put pressure on Zimbabwe to end this persecution."