Statement on Zimbabwe by the General Secretary of the World Council of Churches 25/4/08 expressing concern about the intergrity of the March elections and political violence
Statement from the heads of Christian Denominations in Zimbabwe April 2008 expressing deep concern over the deteriorating political, security, economic and human rights situation in Zimbabwe following the March 29, 2008 national elections
Open letter to member Churches of the Zimbabwe Council of Churches from NZ Church Leaders 18/4/08 expressing concern about the delay in election results and the conditions of life for the Zimbabwean people
Concerned about the integrity of elections, the World Council of Churches Central Committee stated recently that, "…in democratic systems, elections serve as a way for people to confer legitimacy on a participatory democratic political system. In order to ensure that an election truly reflects the will of the people, attention should be paid to pre- and post-electoral mechanisms."
Nearly one month ago on 29 March the people of Zimbabwe went to the polls to cast a vote for their future. Today they wait patiently but with growing apprehension while the Zimbabwe Election Commission continues to count and recount ballots. Each day that passes without the release of results reduces public confidence in the commission and in any results it may announce.
As the Zimbabwean people wait, there are repeated reports of organized violence against those who did not vote for the ruling party. What is happening in Zimbabwe raises new concerns that an electoral process in Africa is again being compromised by rigging and reprisals. Such actions must be stopped.
We support the call by church leaders in Zimbabwe for the United Nations and leaders of Africa and the Southern African Development Community to intervene and prevent a political crisis from escalating into mass violence. Meanwhile, a ship laden with weapons and ammunition recently purchased by the government of Zimbabwe has meandered up the coast of southern Africa in search of a port to offload its cargo. So far, Zimbabwe's neighbours -- churches, labour unions, arms control groups and governments -- have succeeded in turning this particular ship away. We commend them for stopping delivery of weapons likely to be used for violations of international law. The action is a demonstration of the SADC region's concern for arms controls. Further vigilance is needed, however, amid reports of similar arms deals destined for Zimbabwe at present.
Today the people of Zimbabwe suffer one of the highest unemployment rates in Africa, live with a 600,000 per cent annual inflation rate, daily shortages of food and fuel and now see added insecurity and an even more tenuous future.
The people of Zimbabwe have faithfully exercised their right to vote. An observer mission from the WCC and the All-Africa Conference of Churches was present and has issued its report. Initially the Zimbabwe government dignified the election by agreeing to measures that ensured a degree of transparency about outcomes at the local level. Now it is time for the government of Zimbabwe to step forward, declare the full and complete results of the election and act in accordance with the people's will. The longer the government remains silent about the real outcome of the election the greater the risk for the people of Zimbabwe and the future of their beloved country.
The World Council of Churches joins with churches across Zimbabwe in calling for the immediate release of the election results and for international support and action under the auspices of SADC, the African Union and the United Nations to achieve a peaceful resolution of this crisis.
Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia
WCC General Secretary
25 April, 2008
18 April 2008
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ
As leaders of the churches in Aotearoa New Zealand we have been following the situation in Zimbabwe with deep concern and know that the difficult state of the economy and the uncertain political situation must be putting a huge strain on the churches and its resources. Please be assured that our thoughts and prayers are with you as you work to make God’s love for all people known.
We write at this critical time in Zimbabwe’s history to encourage you in your work to bring hope and healing to the people of Zimbabwe, both those living within the country and those who have felt compelled to leave their homeland. Some of those people are now valued members of our congregations and we are aware of the anxiety and hopes they have for their country. We share their considerable concern regarding the delays in releasing the election results that are undermining the peaceful voting that occurred on March 29.
The people of Zimbabwe have every right to expect free and fair elections including a timely outcome. We encourage you as church leaders to speak out in the interests of your people and in the hope that God offers to us all. Be assured that we are endeavouring to support you in this task by raising our concern with our own government and providing humanitarian assistance where we can.
Living on the other side of the world as we do, we are dependent on media reports and would appreciate receiving news or a statement of what is happening from a Christian perspective. The current situation can only serve to increase the fear and insecurity of all people.
Please be assured that the churches of New Zealand will continue to pray for all Zimbabweans, an end to the poverty and violence that is threatening your land and a peaceful resolution of the current political turmoil.
May you be strengthened by the love of God in these difficult times.
David Moxon, Co presiding Archbishop of the Anglican Church
in Aotearoa New Zealand and Polynesia.
Brian Turner, President
Methodist Church of New Zealand
Rodney Macann, National Leader
Baptist Union of New Zealand
Pamela Tankersley, Assembly Moderator
Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand
John A Dew, Archbishop of Wellington
Roman Catholic Church of New Zealand