The Inter-regional Meeting of Bishops of Southern Africa (IMBISA), comprising Catholic leaders from Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Sao Tome e Principe, South Africa, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, has called on the Sothern Africa Development Committee (SADC) to act decisively against the armed conflict and ailing economies that threaten human survival in the region.

In a letter signed by the Secretary General of IMBISA, Archbishop Robert Ndlovu, the bishops say “The people of Africa are on the move. Some are “moving ahead” and make progress. Some are on the move because they are fleeing hunger, poverty, war and armed conflict.

“We regard the misery of our people crossing the border into Malawi because of military operations in Northern Mozambique or Zimbabweans crossing the Limpopo into South Africa or entering Botswana as economic refugees as  alarming.”

The Bishops regard the armed conflict and economic instability as “transnational problems for which there are no national solutions.”

All regional countries therefore must put their heads and minds together in search of solutions.

They also advised that people must always come first for serious governments, and as regards Mozambique, they “appeal to our governments to unite their voice to the Mozambican people demanding an end to all violence and use of arms, to strengthen all efforts of dialogue, thereby helping to create conditions for that dialogue and avoid any military involvement.”

Regarding Zimbabwe and her failing economy, the bishops advised the region and the government ”to put in place ‘a new economic model’ across all sectors of the  economy, an economic model that is inclusive, that draws from the abundant pool of expertise that [the country] is blessed with…and that transcends political and other boundaries”

Failure to address the economic and armed conflicts in the region would leave it susceptible to more dangerous implosions of discontent.  “Prevention is better than cure. Action time is now. African leaders must not wait until the situation gets out of hand when foreign powers will come and act as policemen, so humiliating for Africa.” They warned.