Africa's Churches Request God to Take Mugabe

Maputo — In the strongest statement from the church yet, Africa's largest grouping of churches says the crisis in Zimbabwe is deadlocked because of the intransigence of President Robert Mugabe, and Christians should pray for an end to the "illegitimate" regime.

The 9th general assembly of the All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC) in Maputo, Mozambique, set aside January 25, 2009 as a special ‘Africa Day of Prayer and Fasting for Justice in Zimbabwe’.

The AACC assembly said the Mugabe regime was contrary to the will of Zimbabweans, as expressed in the presidential election of March 29, 2008.

The association also criticised southern African leaders, international mediators and the churches for failure to bring about an amicable solution to Zimbabwe’s political crisis.

President Mugabe is using power-sharing negotiations as a strategy for wasting time and exercising continued control over Zimbabwe. Meanwhile, violence continues to be committed against those who do not support Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party, AACC said.

AACC urged the African Union and its member states to "state clearly that the current Zimbabwean regime is illegitimate and to withdraw recognition of the Zimbabwean government."

The AU should also intensify pressure on President Mugabe to relinquish power, and facilitate genuine negotiations between all political parties and civil society organisations to chart a new political dispensation.

It also acknowledged that member churches have been slow to respond to the crisis in Zimbabwe and the suffering of the people, "in part because of our lack of unity". 

The association said it will work with Zimbabweans towards a common vision for peace, justice and reconciliation in their nation and "pray for an end to illegitimate rule".

Advocacy initiatives to be spearheaded by AACC include visits to leaders of nations, regional structures and the African Union, marches and demonstrations, particularly outside of Zimbabwean embassies and consulates, and collecting funds and material to provide humanitarian aid and address the cholera crisis.

Catholic Information Service for Africa (Nairobi)