HARARE – A coalition of Zimbabwean churches and civil society movements has launched a prayer initiative meant to foster peace and unity in the troubled southern African nation, torn apart by political upheaval that has continued to threaten national security since last year’s general elections.
Zimbabwe has become a serious regional threat following a win by President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his Zanu (PF) party in the plebiscite last year, with main opposition leader Nelson Chamisa and his MDC Alliance claiming the victory was stolen. Chamisa, who promised to throw spanners into Mnangagwa’s works, has – both overtly and covertly, led calls for street protests in the country, with two of those becoming violent and inviting a bloody reaction from the country’s heavy-handed security forces, resulting in dozens of deaths.
With Zimbabwe now on a knife-edge, following threats of more protests against the government’s repressive response of banning any more demonstrations and activating security forces, the churches and civil society have seized the initiative to seek divine intervention and be the voice of peace.
The coalition, bringing together more than 100 church and civil society leaders, the Churches and Civic society Peace Campaign is built under the theme “the blood that was shed on the Cross is enough- no more shedding of blood in Zimbabwe” under the auspices of the Churches and Civic Society Joint Forum. It seeks to stop the threats of violence as tensions continue to rise at the back of the stinging economic situation that has caused panic and desperation in the country.
In a statement released last week, the churches bemoaned the harsh economic situation, which they described as a violation of citizens’ right to life and dignity.
Scores of women converged in Mabvuku, Harare, Friday, in the first of the many nationwide peace prayer campaigns meant to pray for peace and prosperity in Zimbabwe.
“The campaign seeks to tone down the tempers and negative energy currently prevailing in Zimbabwe, which has a potential to spark civil unrests or war due to the escalating tensions and we are seeking divine intervention at the same time preaching the message of reconciliation and peace,” said Pastor Anglistone Thembani Sibanda, the National Chairperson of CCSJF.
“Jesus Christ said ‘blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called children of God. Apostle Paul taught us that “we have a message of reconciliation’. While he admonished believers to pray for the leaders that there be peace. While we pray and plead with Zimbabweans to desist from violence and being used by politicians, we also challenge politicians to stop grandstanding and sacrificing the poor, to come together to a round table and find common solutions to the Zimbabwean Crisis. We believe that both ZANUPF and the MDC as well as the general public have a hand in this quagmire.”
Sibanda also appealed for broader dialogue facilitated by the regional Southern African Development Community (SADC) and inclusive of all stakeholders, even those outside national politics.
“We have all played a part in misgoverning the country one way or another and it’s time we found each other and resolved our crisis. We also appeal to the SADC to take the citizens’ cry seriously and to speedily facilitate an all-inclusive dialogue that will bring in churches, civic society, business and political players to a common table of redefining Zimbabwe and solving our crisis,” added Pastor Sibanda.
“We do not want a repeat of the 2009 power sharing scheme that was exclusive to politicians that did not deal with fundamental issues but we want a broad and inclusive dialogue whose outcome will benefit the ordinary Citizens.”