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Zimbabwe    PRIEST CHALLENGES GOVERNMENT ON FARMS VIOLENCE
A Jesuit priest working in Zimbabwe has called on the government of President Robert Mugabe to arrest and try all those responsible for recent violence during the parliamentary election and farms occupation.
    In an article published in the Financial Gazette, an independent business paper published in the capital Harare last week, Fr Oskar Wermter, SJ, said that the 33 victims of recent election violence, "as well as many others tortured and raped during farm occupation cannot simply be written off as the inevitable cost of a political process".
    He added: "Those responsible for these deaths and injuries must be held accountable. Respect for human life is the cornerstone of any society. We would undermine the moral order our society relies on if we were to allow 'political' crimes to be in a category of their own beyond good and bad."
    Fr Wermter argued that Zimbabwean politicians had forgotten "too soon" the death of thousands of civilians in Matabeleland and the Midlands during the civil war in Zimbabwe. "Somehow the 'war veterans' and their present tactics remind us of those days. If you do not deal with the past adequately you endanger the future. Apparently the much renowned 'reconciliation' of 1980 was far too superficial, the extended hand of friendship a clever political gesture rather than a true transformation of hearts," Fr Wermter wrote.
   
Cath Herald
   
22 Aug 00



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