Synod Moderator prays for Zimbabwe after violence breaks out

Zimbabwe protest 2The Revd Paul Whittle, Moderator of the United Reformed Church Eastern Synod, has said he is deeply saddened and concerned at the violence occurring in Zimbabwe.

Protests broke out a week ago after the government more than doubled the price of fuel overnight. Living costs have also soared and many have found they cannot even afford the bus fare to work.

In response to the protests, security forces have been accused of using torture to curb protesters.

'I am deeply saddened and concerned by the current emerging news, not least the shut-down of social media which makes getting accurate news so difficult,’ said Mr Whittle, who visited the country in December 2017 after Zimbabwe’s army took control of the country and put veteran President Robert Mugabe under house arrest.

‘I received a message on my phone a few days ago from a friend and colleague who ministers in Zimbabwe. The message said: “We need urgent prayers once again for Zim.”

‘Last October a small group from the Presbytery of Zimbabwe visited Eastern Synod and we shared various conversations of concern as the economic situation worsened and, even while our visitors were here, their fear of what they would find when they returned grew.

‘Since then, their fears have been realised and Zimbabwe has seen a return of violent protests and an unreasonable response from security forces that has resulted in deaths, injuries and imprisonment.

‘Yet having been to Zimbabwe, I am aware of the spirit of hope that then prevailed, as it does now, as people looked and prayed for something different.

‘In the lifetime of many of us, we have seen a number of huge changes in regimes which we would not have expected. So, it can happen.'

In a series of tweets, the country’s President Mnangagwa has called for the country to come together and said that violence or misconduct by security forces was unacceptable and a betrayal of the new Zimbabwe.

Mr Whittle continued: ‘Please join me in praying for Zimbabwe and its people, that things may improve very significantly in both the short and the long term.’

Earlier this week, Zimbabwean church and civil leaders gathered in Harare to reject all forms of violence, and issued a ten-point statement inviting the government and Zimbabweans to seek solutions and formulate a binding national vision. 

Picture: A still showing people protesting over fuel hikes in Zimbabwe. SABC Digital News/YouTube.