Statement by Bishop John Kirby, Chairman of Trócaire on Zimbabwe

11 Apr 2008

11 April 2008

Statement by Bishop John Kirby, Chairman of Trócaire on Zimbabwe

Chairman of Trócaire, Bishop John Kirby, joins calls for an end to the post-election deadlock, and for Zimbabwean government and regional leaders to act to dispel fears and tensions

In company with Catholic Bishops Conferences throughout the world, Bishop John Kirby, Chairman of Trócaire, wishes to express his deepest concern over the unfolding situation in Zimbabwe. The unnecessarily slow release of election results over the past week has fuelled anxiety and tension among the already long-suffering people of Zimbabwe. The Government clampdown of the last few days and general atmosphere of insecurity has increased fears that any presidential election run-off will be marred by the violence, retribution and repression that characterised the well-documented election periods of 2000, 2002 and 2005.


The Bishops of Zimbabwe noted in December 2007 that “Previous elections have been marred by controversy and violence…. We urge Government and all contesting parties, to create a social, political and economic climate that enhances moral integrity. We urge those responsible for organising elections to establish a credible electoral process, whose outcome will be free and fair and with local and international recognition.” We echo this call and their call for candidates to be ‘magnanimous in victory and defeat.’ 

In light of the current tensions in Zimbabwe and given that the risk of violence may be increasing, Bishop Kirby and Trócaire join the calls of the domestic and international community in urging the Electoral Commission, in the interest of peace and the search for justice, to urgently release and publicise the results of the presidential election held on March 29, 2008. Many Zimbabweans are anxiously waiting for these results; and they deserve and have a right to know the outcome.


We commend SADC leaders for organising an extraordinary regional summit this weekend in Zambia and call upon them to take all measures necessary to ensure that the will of the people of Zimbabwe as expressed through these polls is upheld, and that election-related violence and repression is averted. All contesting political parties, as well as those responsible for organising elections, have the duty to ensure that peace and calm prevails in Zimbabwe at this critical juncture and that the rule of law is upheld. 

In issuing this statement, we are aware of the long history of friendship which unites Irish people with Zimbabweans, which is due in no small measure to the ongoing dedicated work of Irish missionaries in partnership with the people of Zimbabwe.

We pray this Sunday for the citizens of Zimbabwe as they anxiously await the outcome of this historic election. They voted in great numbers last month. Let us pray with them now as they advocate so courageously for a fair and transparent election process that delivers responsible and accountable leadership to their country as well as peace, justice and prosperity.


Further information:
Martin Long, Director of Communications (086 172 7678)
Brenda Drumm, Communications Officer (087 233 7797)