Churches call for prayers of peace amid rising tensions in Zimbabwe

Emmerson Mnangagwa news bannerChristians are calling for calm, and for prayers of peace, amid rising tensions in Zimbabwe after Emmerson Mnangagwa of the Zanu-PF party was declared the winner of the country’s national elections.

Six anti-Mnangagwa demonstrators were killed, and many others injured after MDC Alliance supporters – who backed the opposition candidate Nelson Chamisa – clashed troops in the days that followed the election on 30 July.

Zimbabwe has long established links with the United Reformed Church through Commitment for Life and the global partnership between the Eastern Synod and the Presbytery of Zimbabwe within the Uniting Presbyterian Church of Southern Africa.

‘We are saddened by this violence,’ said the Revd Paul Whittle, Moderator of the URC’s Eastern Synod. ‘This is a very significant moment for Zimbabwe. Following the peaceful regime change towards the end of last year, it is sad that violence has marked the immediate aftermath of voting. We pray that, now the results have been announced, the country will go forward in confidence and peace.’

The Revd David Mhlambeni, Moderator of the Presbytery of Zimbabwe, added: ‘It is disheartening to observe the violence and loss of life experienced during and the aftermath of our harmonised elections. Violence begets violence, and this should be made extinct in our Zimbabwean society.

‘As a church, we are called not to pontify our current political situation but to pray for peace whenever a nation degenerates to what our nation has. It is our very own bottom-middle and lower classes that bear the brunt of political violence and abuse. It is therefore paramount for the Church to remain resolute in prayer for peace and stability in our nation.

‘Most of us want peace, but a very few are willing to make it. As Matthew 5:9 says: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.” Now that the election results have been announced, our duty is to unite God’s people going forward. Let us continue in prayers for peace and justice to prevail for all God’s people.’

 

Picture: Emmerson Mnangagwa after being sworn in as President of Zimbabwe at a stadium in the capital, Harare. News Measurements Network Live/Flickr