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Church Groups Urge Zimbabwe Defence Forces to Hand Power to Transitional Authority

A man reads the front page of a special edition of The Herald newspaper about the crisis in Zimbabwe with the headline 'No military takeover - ZDF' on Nov. 15, 2017 in Harare.

Heads of Christian denominations in Zimbabwe have urged the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, which toppled President Robert Mugabe’s government on Wednesday, to hand over power to a civilian transitional government that will oversee the smooth transition to a free and fair election.

In a statement, they said the army is capable of doing this since it has “stressed that theirs is not a military coup but an effort to manage the current situation” in Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe’s constitution does not have a provision for a transitional government but one of the heads of the Christian denominations, Anglistone Sibanda, said this is the only way of settling the conflict between the military generals and President Robert Mugabe’s government.

“We now have to come to a situation where we agree on the way forward … We may not fail to come up with the way forward because the constitution did not forsee that (transitional government) …”

The church groups also noted that there is need for a national dialogue on the unfolding situation in the southern African nation.

“The current situation gives as an opportunity to reach out to each other. There is no way we can go back to the political arrangements we had some days ago. We are in a new situation. But our shared future will only be realised through dialogue. This dialogue cannot only happen within the ruling party. What we need is a National Envisioning Process (NEP) that will capture the aspirations of all the sectors of society.

“The church alongside other stakeholders in the private sector, academia, and other spheres can establish this NEP as an inclusive space to enable Zimbabweans from all walks of life to contribute towards a democratic transition to the Zimbabwe We Want.”

The Zimbabwe military toppled President Mugabe claiming that the situation in the country had deteriorated to the extent that it was brewing an internal strife, which could have been difficult to contain.

The army claimed that the ruling party was also purging its supporters said to be backing sacked Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

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