15 September 2008

Cautious welcome for Zimbabwe power-sharing deal

* Zanu-PF have reached a 'point of weakness'

The Methodist Church and the United Reformed Church have welcomed news of the power-sharing deal reached between the Zanu-PF and MDC political parties in Zimbabwe. But they have also expressed concern about the practical realities of the deal.

Roy Crowder, Methodist Partnership Coordinator for Africa, says, 'Clearly Zanu-PF have reached a point of weakness and cannot continue to run the country alone, possibly because their funding has run out and they can no longer afford to control the security forces. Both parties are strong in different ways. Zanu-PF holds the reins of institutional power, but the international community refuses to recognise their status. While the MDC has had no institutional control, their presence in government could unlock international aid for the reconstruction of this desperate country. Much will now depend on which party influences and controls the Zimbabwean security forces.'

"Many people have taken significant risks to outline a vision for a new Zimbabwe,' continues Frank Kantor, Secretary for Church and Society for the United Reformed Church. 'The country desperately needs courageous leadership to make this vision a reality and to find ways to balance the requirements of justice with those of national healing and reconciliation in Zimbabwe. The people of Zimbabwe are looking for permanent long-term change. It will be difficult for this power-sharing arrangement to deliver fundamental reforms unless it addresses this need.'

The Churches are urging people to pray for the situation in Zimbabwe and have offered the following prayer for use by individuals, groups and congregations:

Lord of order in chaos,
Bring your peace where there is no peace,
Bring your sustenance where there is no bread,
Bring your wisdom where all is in disorder,
Bring your comfort where there is fear,
Bring your justice where injustice reigns.
Bless the people and politicians of Zimbabwe
and guide them to a just and stable future.

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