The bishops' conference thanked the ousted president for the ‘good work’ he did while in power

The Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops’ Conference has said it has “forgiven” ousted president Robert Mugabe for his “transgressions” during his time in office over the past 37 years.

In a statement, the country’s bishops thanked Mugabe for the “good work” he did as president and during the Bush War that led to the creation of the modern state of Zimbabwe.

“We thank the former President for the good work he did for Zimbabwe during the liberation struggle and as President for 37 years. We forgive him for any shortcomings during his long tenure of office.”

Robert Mugabe resigned as president last week after the military intervened to force him from power.

During his time in office, the country, which was once regarded as the ‘bread basket of Africa’, suffered economic collapse and hyperinflation. Mugabe’s policy of forcing white farmers from their land also led to economic sanctions and international condemnation.

In previous statements, the bishops’ conference has accused Mugabe of gross human rights abuses, silencing opponents and undermining the country’s democracy.

In the most recent statement, the bishops’ conference also congratulated the new president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, and called for free and fair elections next year.

“A sustainable normalisation of Zimbabwe can only be achieved through a people-inclusive and participatory process in a democratic way,” they said.