HARARE - Eight Zimbabwean church leaders have been released on bail after being detained for allegedly holding an illegal political meeting in a church on the evening of 26 January 2007, said officials siad today.
The church leaders were charged with breaching a section of the criminal law codification act outlawing political gatherings without police permission, for the meeting held in the town of Kadoma, southwest of the capital, Harare - as previously reported on Ekklesia.
Pastor Lucky Moyo, a spokesperson for the Christian Alliance, a coalition of mainly Pentecostal churches campaigning for good governance, said: "The pastors have been finally released today on 100,000 dollars bail each."
Magistrate Remigius Jemwa remanded the case to 5 March 2007. Pastor Moyo said: "The Christian Alliance had organised the meeting ... to launch a chapter in Kadoma. It was attended by scores of Christians from across denominations. The meeting was for Christians who felt they cannot remain silent while the country burns with companies closing, inflation hitting everyone hard and the majority of the people are suffering."
The cleric added: "We are not aligned to any political party and we don't mind who rules this country as long as they are accountable and respect the rights of all citizens. We are just against the prevailing situation characterised by looting and misgovernance."
Meanwhile, leading civil rights activist Lovemore Madhuku, chair of the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA), was arrested in Harare over a brief protest last week against plans by the ruling party to extend President Robert Mugabe’s term by another two years in 2008.
The NCA said: "Madhuku is currently detained at Harare central police station, where he is being interrogated by police assistant commissioner Bothwell Mugariri."
Zimbabwe is in the throes of chronic economic crises with four-digit inflation, massive joblessness and at least 80 per cent of the population living below the poverty threshold.
Please pray for these pastors and their families. Not only is the cost of bail a hardship, but the authorities can be ruthless to anyone who is labeled as oppositional.