21 April 2008
Churches Concern at Zimbabwe Violence
The Methodist and United Reformed Churches have together voiced their concern about increasing levels of violence and political intimidation, linked to the delay in announcing the result of Zimbabwe’s presidential election.
Commenting on the precarious situation, the Revd Dr Stephen Orchard, Moderator of the General Assembly of the United Reformed Church said: ‘The Zimbabwe Election Commission owes it to the long-suffering people of Zimbabwe to announce the presidential result without further delay, to enable people to begin the urgent task of rebuilding their shattered lives and economy. We condemn the campaign of violence and intimidation that has been embarked upon by members of the ruling party, following the announcement of the parliamentary election results. We also believe that people who hold power in any country have a first duty to care for the poor and vulnerable rather than for themselves’.
Reflecting on the escalating humanitarian crisis, the General Secretary of the Methodist Church, the Revd David Deeks, said ‘The impact on the lives of ordinary Zimbabweans has been immense. The people of Zimbabwe appear to have voted for change and the leaders of Southern African states bear a huge responsibility to ensure that the will of the people is respected. If that doesn’t happen, the crisis in Zimbabwe could have an increasingly devastating impact on the entire region’.
The two churches expressed their solidarity and support in prayer and action with their partner churches and agencies in Zimbabwe and pledged to continue working together to achieve peace, justice and prosperity there. They illustrated the plight of Zimbabweans with statistics, including:
In 1987 inflation averaged 11.9 percent. It surged to an official record of 100,586 percent in January 2008, but economic experts say the real rate is much higher.
Average life expectancy dropped from 63 years in 1990 to 37.3 years in 2005, according to World Bank and U.N. figures.
Estimated at about 80% of the working population.