Every Christian in every denomination around the world are being asked to pray for Zimbabwe on Sunday, April 27, 2008. We are asked to pray for "a nation in dire distress and teetering on the brink of human disaster."
The Anglican Communion News Service writes:
Let the cry for help touch your heart and mind. Let it move you to do what you can immediately to ensure this Day of Prayer takes place in your country and neighbourhood.
Please pass on this message right now to all the churches and Christian organisations known to you and to the media as well as to everyone anxious to rescue Zimbabwe from violence, the concealing and juggling of election results, deceit, oppression and corruption, and to bring about righteousness, joy, peace, compassion, honesty, justice, democracy and freedom from fear and want.
May a continual strong stream of prayer and supplication flow up to the Lord on behalf of all the people on this Day of Prayer, exhorting His divine intervention throughout the nation.
"It is by making the truth publicly known that we recommend ourselves to the honest judgment of mankind in the sight of God." (2 Corinthians 4:2)
Some advice to Zimbabweans
"Who so putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe." (Proverbs 29:25) "Stand fast, and do not let yourselves be caught again in the yoke of slavery." (Galatians 5:1) "Make no mistake, you cannot cheat God." (Galatians 6:7) "Do not be overcome by evil but overcame evil with good" (Romans 12:21)
Bob Stumbles, Chancellor - The Anglican Diocese of Harare
Modern Churchpersons Union is tracking this story at their blog. They examine the question - Could an Anglican Covenant have helped this situation? - in summary - NO.
The BBC reports that the Zimbabwean opposition has appealed to the UN for help.
News from Anglican Information follows:
More eyewitness accounts from Zimbabwe – silence from Anglican Bishops
From a correspondent in Harare, Zimbabwe:
Please publish the latest report from ZADHR (Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights). The people as reported here are of course only those who manage to reach the private Hospital which takes some of the victims of violence – many others languish untreated in the countryside. There is now a de facto curfew in the townships. Anyone seen outside after dark is beaten. The army are patrolling the streets.
In the Anglican Cathedral (St Mary’s in Harare, now occupied by Mugabe approved “Archbishop” Nolbert Kunonga and various hired thugs) doors remain locked, opened only for a 7am empty English Service and for the main 9am Shona Service attended by 60-80 people. I saw my dear friend who looks after the car park his week. He was supervising an empty space sitting in his usual place reading his bible. He gave me a hug and said he was fine. I also saw the elderly white lady with her bicycle who feeds the birds in the cloisters. It was business as usual for both of them.
ZADHR – Press Statement – 18th April 2008
Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights
Cases of Post Election Violence continue to escalate
ZADHR issued a statement on April 15th concerning 157 cases of organised violence and torture (OVT) documented by members of the Association. As of end of day April 17th this total is now 242. Fort-two cases were seen and treated on April the 17th alone; six of these were women, one a boy of 12. Of the 42, 19 of the incidents occurred in Mashonaland East (Murehewa, Mutoko, Mudzi and Maramba) and a further 19 in or near Harare (Dzivarasekwa, Kuwadzana, Tafara, Budiriro, Glen Norah, Epworth and Chitungwiza).
Most of these cases continue to be of soft tissue injury, especially of the buttocks but often in other parts of the body including the breast of women. The extreme force of the injuries is demonstrated by the common occurrence of superficial blistering and deep, sometimes extensive, haematoma formation. Haematomas are substantive collections of whole blood, as distinct from simple bruising which is blood in amongst other tissues.
In 15 of the cases of soft tissue injury, there were documented tram tracks – on the overlying skin. This is a classic sign of assault with a hard thin object such as a stick or baton. Three more cases had fractures of the forearm or hand (right ulna, left radius and ulna, two left metacarpals). The patient with fractured right ulna also sustained fractures of ribs on the left side of his chest associated with left haemothorax (blood in the space between the lungs and the chest wall).
There have been reports of several deaths but because these do not usually present to ZADHR members, only one case (of multiple stab wounds to the chest and abdomen) can be confirmed. This was a brother of a patient from Karoi, previously reported as having been admitted to hospital in Harare.
ZADHR remains deeply concerned that no measures are being taken by the authorities to prevent further violence and by allegations that security forces are now increasingly involved in assaults and torture, particularly in Harare.
These cases suggest a disturbing trend of systematic violent assault and torture, and with more victims possibly unable to access medical attention in rural areas, urgent action is required to prevent the situation deteriorating further. It is essential that the United Nations, African Union and SADC take urgent and decisive steps to engage the Zimbabwean authorities and all stakeholders to end this crisis.
ZADHR reiterates its call for an end to violence by all political parties and security forces.
Further reports: Zanu PF media say that two policemen have been arrested for failing to add a box containing 5000 votes for Mugabe at a local result.
ANGLICAN-INFORMATION observes that: The Mugabe regime (post election defeat) policy now seems clear - it is as follows:
Soften up population by systematic violence, beatings and threats.
Call a recount in 23 electoral districts (22 of which were won by the opposition MDC party) – recount and declare that Zanu-PF has not after all lost the election. This ‘recount’ has started today 19th April.
Once a parliamentary majority is re-established release the ‘massaged’ presidential results and call for a run-off.
‘Win’ the re-run presidential election by paying close attention to getting the right result.
Reinstate the ‘victor’ President Mugabe.
Business as usual for the privileged ruling elite
Speak up – we can’t hear you
A deafening silence has been emitted from a number of quarters about this appalling state of affairs, not least from the House of Bishops, Anglican Province of Central Africa. Bishop Sebastian Bakare struggling in the front line to regain the Diocese of Harare from the clutches of Nolbert Kunonga being a brave exception.
At the same time and now inevitably caught up in what is happening with the Mugabe regime, the Zimbabwean exemplar of stolen elections is mirrored in the Anglican Province of Central Africa. The Bishops invite comparison with Mugabe in their continued endeavours to maintain their grip on power by installing their own candidates in the Malawian dioceses of Lake Malawi and Upper Shire, despite having lost the elections and gone against the will of the people. The only thing missing is the violence but there is political machination and effective intimidation aplenty.
Of those in the Provincial House of Bishops only Albert Chama of Northern Zambia and James Tengatenga of South Malawi (unfortunately to their shame and embarrassment) have thus far felt able publicly to admit what they are doing; as for the rest of them – not Shona, not Chichewa, not English, nor any of the local African languages but the universal language of Latin shall this time have the last word when speaking of the Anglican Province of Central Africa and its bishops:
‘Qui tacet consentire videtur’ or ‘He who keeps silent apparently approves’.