“Another Zimbabwe is possible”

Uniting Church President Stuart McMillan has called on church members to pray for a peaceful resolution to the unfolding crisis in Zimbabwe.

Last week, the Zimbabwe military seized control of the capital and detained President Robert Mugabe under house arrest.

The ruling Zanu-PF party sacked Mr Mugabe as their leader and demanded he resign as head of state or face impeachment.

However, Mr Mugabe refused to resign during a live television address to the nation on Sunday, plunging Zimbabwe into further uncertainty.

The 93-year-old Mugabe has ruled Zimbabwe for more than 37 years. During his reign, the country experienced widespread corruption, human rights abuses and economic mismanagement.

UnitingWorld National Director Dr Sureka Goringe said the Uniting Church is in ongoing communication with the Methodist Church in Zimbabwe.

“We have expressed our concern and encouragement, and they’ve said how thankful they are that the Uniting Church in Australia is standing and praying alongside them,” she said.

The Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC) released a statement last week saying the country is “between a crisis and a kairos (opportunity)”.

“We see the current situation not just as a crisis in which we are helpless. We see the current arrangement as an opportunity for the birth of a new nation,” the ZCC said.

“Our God created everything out of chaos and we believe something new could emerge out of our situation.”

In the statement, the ZCC articulated its concern for the state of democracy in the country and said most Zimbabweans have lost trust in the legitimacy of government institutions.

It believes national dialogue is necessary for Zimbabweans to create a new future together.

“There is a deep concern that there seems to be no clear distinction between the ruling party and the government,” the ZCC said.

“There is concern that the priorities of the poor have become relegated to charity of those who have access to national resources without proper commitment to addressing the root-causes of these problems.

“There is a general feeling that the wheels of democracy have become stuck in the mud of personalised politics where the generality of the citizenry plays an insignificant role.”

The Zimbabwe Defence Force insists the current situation is not a military coup.

However, the ZCC said the military has an obligation to ensure human rights are respected during this time of uncertainty.

The churches have also called for the formalisation of a “transitional government of national unity” that will oversee a free and fair election.

“We can either take the current situation as a mere crisis to be resolved by a winner-takes-all mentality or we use this as an opportunity for us to find one another; to build something that is permanently healing for our nation,” the ZCC said.

“The first option spells disaster for us and future generations. The second option allows us to embrace our situation as a Kairos, an opportunity given to us by God to dream together that another Zimbabwe is possible.”

See the full statement here.


Photo: GovernmentZA/Flickr

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