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Pastoral letter for the Zimbabwe elections

A PLEA FOR PRAYERS OF SOLIDARITY FOR THE ZIMBABWE ELECTIONS

20 March 2008

The KwaZulu-Natal Christian Council (KZNCC) and its member churches and organisations are concerned about the situation in Zimbabwe especially in relation to the elections scheduled for 29 March 2008. The worsening socio-political and economic situation of Zimbabwe has long been observed with alarm. The forthcoming elections need to be a turning point for the suffering people of Zimbabwe.

Delegation

Under the leadership of Bishop Rubin Phillip, Chairperson of KZNCC, a group of eminent persons has been recruited to pay a solidarity visit to Zimbabwe in this time of agitation and confusion. As they set out on this mission on behalf of the churches of KwaZulu-Natal on 25 March, we invite all our people to pray that they may be able to bring strength and comfort to the Zimbabwean people. The delegation will return on 31 March and their report will be made public as soon as possible thereafter.

Context

Among the candidates contesting the presidential elections, President Robert Mugabe is seeking election for a sixth term. The political situation in Zimbabwe is tense. The economy is chaotic. People are full of anxiety and fear about the threat of violence. Acts of intimidation, torture, assault and abuse of human rights continue. There is great concern that the playing field for the election is uneven.

Request for Prayers

Over this Easter weekend and thereafter, there is an urgent need for prayers for a free and fair election, peace and stability, freedom of movement and association, and an absence of violence both during and after the elections, when the results are announced. Prayers are requested for a change of political leadership and the ushering in of a new era of respect for human rights, justice, human dignity and the recovery of the Zimbabwean economy. And that the people of Zimbabwe may be able to rally around a new leadership and give them the support and cooperation they need for the reconstruction of the country and of its people’s dignity.

Bishop R Phillip Chairperson: KZNCC

Prayer for Zimbabwe (Excerpt from a Liturgy of Prayers of Zimbabwe – Modified by KZNCC)

God our heavenly Lord,

You have given all people one common origin,

And your will is to gather them as one family in harmony.

We pray that the Zimbabwean elections may be free from violence and intimidation, and that the observers from many nations may be able to do their work with honesty and security.

Lord, the people of Zimbabwe are desperate for change.

We pray that the elections may lead to a change of leadership and bring justice, peace and order to the country.

We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.