Saturday, July 5, 2008

Mugabe, the "Election" and the Church

The election and then run-off election for President of Zimbabwe has been a sad affair. The fact that “President” Mugabe had his opponent arrested illustrates how this election is pure folly. His opponent was released but says he was beaten and he dropped out of the race. The result, an unopposed Mugabe, who clearly lost the initial election, is now declared the winner. The nation still faces economic disaster. Fear and oppression are still the pillars of governance and a nation continues to suffer.

Mugabe counts himself a faithful Catholic. The church/es of Zimbabwe have a complicated relationship with this regime. He was initially supported by many in faith communities because they wanted an end to the repressive and racist Smith Regime. However, over the years Mugabe’s government has become increasingly divisive, oppressive and blatantly violates the human rights of its citizens. Today his support in the faith communities of the nation is not solid.

Traditional leaders have voiced their support of his call for dialog and congratulated him on his re-election. One wonders what will happen to these Traditional Leaders who have failed to lead when their people needed them most. This regime is doomed. Mugabe is an old man. He will either die in the next few years or the leaders of his party will recognize they have lost the support of the nation and they will desert him. Either way the government and policies these “Leaders” support will only be around for a limited time and the people will remember how the Traditional Leaders failed them.

Church leaders are calling for reconciliation and the support of the world. Priests have been attacked and are afraid to travel. One Catholic Church has been burnt. The Bishop of South Africa has called on all African Nations to reject Mugabe as the elected leader of Zimbabwe.

It is a dangerous time to live in Zimbabwe. A people that have known too much suffering continues to try to survive under the heel of this dictator and his sham election. The question is, will the neighboring nations have the moral fortitude to call for Mugabe to step down? At the very least our prayers are required.

Zimbabwe Vote Rigging

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