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Zimbabwe Church Alliance To Boycott Prayer Event & Mugabe Speech

Leaders of the Christian Alliance of churches said Friday they will boycott the National Day of Prayer event Sunday in Harare at which President Mugabe is to speak.

Christian Alliance members, who came together in 2005 to help those displaced by the slum-clearance drive the government called Operation Murambatsvina, or "Drive Out Rubbish,"have disassociated themselves from the clerics who invited Mr. Mugabe to speak at the Glamis Stadium, Harare, event. The sponsors said they were trying to promote dialogue, but their critics say they are pandering to Mr. Mugabe.

Reporter Carole Gombakomba of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe asked Pastor Patson Neta of the Alliance why it decided to boycott the Prayer Day observations.

Meanwhile, a Methodist bishop aligned with the Christian Alliance said he had gone into hiding after he received threats from from persons he believed to be members of the Central Intelligence Organization based in the office of the president.

Bishop Levy Kadenge said he started receiving threatening phone calls after attending a meeting of Christian Alliance leaders in Harare on Thursday.

Political analyst Farai Maguwu said the clerics organizing the prayer event had played into the hands of the ruling ZANU-PF party’s divide-and-rule strategy.

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