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Zimbabwe’s Churches call for calm following post-election violence

Posted on: August 3, 2018 12:37 PM
A supporter of Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change party of Nelson Chamisa wears a cone as they block a street in Harare following Monday's elections.
Photo Credit: Siphiwe-Sibeko / Reuters

Christian leaders in Zimbabwe have appealed for calm in the country following post-election violence in which at least three people have been killed. “Life is more important than everything else,” the Zimbabwe Council of Churches said on its Facebook page. “Let us desist from acts of violence.” Official results from Monday’s poll – the country’s first without Robert Mugabe in almost four decades – gave President Emmerson Mnangagwa from the Zanu-PF 2.46 million votes (50.8 per cent); and MDC opposition leader Nelson Chamisa 2.15 million votes (44.3 per cent). Chamisa has said that the MDC intend to launch a legal challenge against the official results.

Yesterday, ZCC’s President Bishop Lazarus Mpande Khanye joined Archbishop Thomas from the Catholic Bishops Conference at a press conference in which they called on church leaders to “responsibly influence values that guide people into peaceful conduct.” They also “encouraged continual call on to God for peace to prevail in the nation.”

“Tonight, we note with sadness the recent violent development that is unfolding in our dear country,” Bishop Lazarus said. “It is clear that there is a section of our population which is dissatisfied with the way the election has been handled. This has resulted in several incidents of violence being reported in some parts of Harare.

“As bishops and church leaders we re-emphasise that key to the gospel of Jesus Christ is the development of peace, peace, and peace. Our nation, having been through similar incidents in the past, we cannot allow ourselves to undergo another period of violence. I know wish to make clear that violence won’t get us anywhere.”

Yesterday, in a message on its Facebook page, the ZCC said: “Peace is the fundamental block in nation building. Violence only leaves the nation in pieces. Let us unite for peace in peace.”