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Zimbabwe Churches Seek To Help Violence Victims Despite Aid Ban

Zimbabwean church leaders say there is no sign of a letup in political violence following the decision by the opposition not to take part in the presidential run-off election slated for late this week, and that they are continuing to try to help the victims of such violence despite government restrictions on the provision of humanitarian assistance.

But some clerics expressed the hope that despite the continued political crisis, the decision by the Movement for Democratic Change party of Morgan Tsvangirai to pull out of the vote may save many people from “protracted and continued harassment” by the ruling party.

Christian Alliance spokesman Pius Wakatama, arrested by authorities last week but released, said worsening conditions have prompted his group to seek other ways of offering shelter, blankets and food since Harare has forbidden it to offer direct humanitarian aid.

Rev. Ray Motsi, chairman of the Zimbabwe National Pastor’s Conference, told reporter Carole Gombakomba of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that while some churches have become polarized in the tense political climate, clerics feel an obligation to get involved to help the victims of political violence.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...