From the Episcopal News Service, word of a January 3rd prayer meeting in the Diocese of Harare broken up by state police under Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe.
About 80 diocesan priests were meeting at Peterhouse School in Marondera, capital of Zimbabwe’s Mashonaland East province, when police intervened and halted the gathering, reportedly on the grounds that it had not received official legal clearance.
Cape Town Archbishop Thabo Makgoba, primate of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, called the police action shocking and deplorable.
“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,” Makgoba said in a Jan. 4 statement.
A statement released by the Harare diocese said: “We deplore this action and call upon higher authorities to intervene. So much for freedom of religion.”
Makgoba also called on “ecumenical friends and our partners in the Anglican Communion to ask their governments to put pressure on Zimbabwe to end this persecution.”
Makgoba, together with the Archbishops of Canterbury, Central Africa, and Tanzania, met with President Mugabe in October, tagging his administration with specific claims of abuse in connection with his ties to excommunicated bishop Nolbert Kunonga.