Although details about the fate of these two were scant yesterday, the mere fact that police detained a priest for conducting his normal church work is disgraceful.
The Zimbabwean constitution guarantees freedom of worship, and arresting priests smacks of attempts by the regime to emasculate the church.
The church’s work in seeking justice for victims of Gukurahundi is well-documented and it is not surprising that Zanu PF is keen to muzzle it ahead of elections anticipated later this year.
The problem for President Mugabe and Zanu PF is that the Gukurahundi atrocities cannot be wished away and no amount of repression will stop people from demanding justice.
The massacres remain a massive time bomb that will haunt Mugabe to his grave.
It would certainly be in the country’s interests if Mugabe initiated a process that would result in compensation for victims and bring to justice all those responsible for the massacres.
Simply arresting leaders such as Mzila-Ndlovu whose job it is to promote national healing on allegations of failing to notify police of a meeting held at a school in Lupane will not solve the problem at hand.
Mzila-Ndlovu has of late been outspoken on the need to address people’s grievances and his arrest can only poison the political environment further. It will also show all and sundry that Mugabe has learnt little from the revolts gripping North Africa and the Middle East.
Just as autocrats in those regions have realised — belatedly — the will of the people cannot be repressed forever, and Mugabe is better advised to make amends while there is still time.
A good start would lie in complying with the recommendations made by the Sadc Troika to end the politically-motivated arrests and violence and allow for the crafting of a proper roadmap for credible elections.