Responding to a recent military take-over in Zimbabwe, local, regional, and world Christian leaders have offered prayers and support for a peaceful transition of power in that beleaguered nation.
Speaking on the UK radio program, Premier Christian Radio, the Bishop of Harare, Chad Gandiya, said, “On Wednesday morning we woke up to the news that the Army was in control and that we were to remain calm, and people have remained calm.
He continued; “Yesterday [Wednesday] was very quiet, and today it is also quiet. People are going about their normal duties, but obviously people are a little bit sensitive to the situation, but we thank God that there is quietness in the country and in the city of Harare in particular.
As a church, we are concerned that what we are going through is peaceful. We are concerned about violence – nobody wants violence and we are grateful that the authorities at this time are also encouraging us all not to be violent. We are concerned that whatever changes are in store for us, these take place in a peaceful manner.”
Saying that what happens next is “anyone’s guess,” he offered that “The situation is still unfolding, and so people can speculate about this and that but I think the reality is that the army is definitely still in control.”
He also said it was his prayer “that when elections do take place they will be free and fair”. Zimbabwe was once known as the Jewel of Africa. Bishop Chad said: “everybody believes that we can recover and that the jewel will sparkle again.”
Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, offered on his Facebook page that he was following events in Zimbabwe and praying for peace as well.
The general secretary of the World Council of Churches, the Revd Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, welcomed yesterday’s statement by the Heads of Christian Denominations, saying: “we are thankful and encouraged by the way churches in Zimbabwe stand together in solidarity in this difficult situation, and we join them in praying for peaceful developments in the country.” He also joined his voice to those calling for churches around the world to pray for peace and justice in Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe is part of the Anglican Church of Central Africa, whose Primate is Archbishop Albert Chama, Bishop of Northern Zambia. Archbishop Chama released a statement as well, thanking church leaders for their prayers and assistance in the face of the crisis in Zimbabwe.
As Primate of the Church of the Province of Central Africa and Chair of the Council of African Provinces in Africa, I write to express our concerns as a Church over the recent political situation in Zimbabwe. We have received messages and calls from the Primates of the Anglican Church worldwide and also from Lambeth Palace assuring us of their prayers.
We are aware of the call by SADC [the Southern African Development Community], the political and economic block in the region, on the need for calmness to prevail in Zimbabwe. However, this sad situation needs more than a political solution. It also needs all people of faith to pray and all citizens to engage in dialogue for the sake of peace and stability in Zimbabwe.
This is based on the call to follow Christ the Prince of Peace and the incarnate God who, in dwelling with and among us, affirms the dignity of each one of us and our environment. We pray that no life will be lost and no property will be destroyed during this time of uncertainty. We want to assure all the people of Zimbabwe of our prayers and fervent hope for an amicable solution to this situation.
God bless Zimbabwe and its people!