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Zimbabwean Christians speak out against cricket tour

Churches from the country's main Christian denominations issued a statement at the weekend expresssing their dismay at the British cricket team's decision to play in Zimbabwe.

Christians Together for Justice and Peace, based in Bulawayo, announced it was speaking on behalf of "the voiceless people of Zimbabwe who are forced to suffer the indignity and hardships of spending hours and days in queues waiting, sometimes futilely, for the basic commodities to sustain life".

The organisation conceded that the Zimbabwe Cricket Union and players need some income from holding the World Cup cricket series in the country.

But it urged the players to "stand in solidarity" with those struggling, by playing the World Cup cricket matches outside the country.

"Is Mr Mugabe, patron of the Zimbabwe Cricket Union, interested in cricket or is he going to use the World Cup as an opportunity to gain respectability and legitimacy for a regime that in the eyes of many of the competing nations is illegitimate and totalitarian?

The coalition also called for the removal of security shields around the grounds where the matches are scheduled to be played.

"We are told their purpose is to protect the players. In reality we know that their real purpose is to prevent the cricketers and visitors from seeing the plight of people outside."

Independent Catholic News

Cricket World Cup
Opinion: Is cricket stumped over Zimbabwe? (BBC)

14 Jan 2003