Student Christian Movement offices raided

Robert Mugabe, president of Zimbabwe, continues to arrest Christian leaders from many traditions and disrupt Christian organizations as his country prepares for the June 27 presidential runoff.

According to Ecumenical News International, the Student Christian Movement of Zimbabwe has drawn the president’s ire.

Zimbabwe police and security forces have raided the Harare offices of several Christian groups, arresting the general secretary of the Student Christian Movement of Zimbabwe and other officers and staff.

The student Christian group accused the government of President Robert Mugabe of “declaring war against its own people”, in a statement following the 9 June 2008 raid in which its general secretary Prosper Munatsi was taken in by police.

In the 10 June statement, it said heavily armed members of the police, central intelligence and military units had swooped on the Ecumenical Centre in Harare, which houses the offices of several Christian organizations, including the SCMZ and the Zimbabwe Christian Alliance.

“In the process police ransacked the SCMZ offices and confiscated computers, laptops, digital cameras, and a minibus,” it stated. Those arrested from the SCMZ, besides Munatsi, were Sandra Dzvete, an office intern; Langelihle Manyani, the group’s vice-chairperson; Matsiliso Moyo, the gender secretary, and her seven month old baby; and Precious Chinanda, the finance and administration officer. Four staff of the Zimbabwe Christian Alliance were also reported to have been taken in by police, as was a member of the Ecumenical Support Services.

“The movement sees this as a move to incapacitate the movement since it has been fully geared towards sensitising Christian students and youth on their rights and responsibilities in the face of a break or make presidential runoff pencilled in for 27 June 2008,” stated the SCMZ, which is a national section of the Geneva-based World Student Christian Federation.

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