Cautious welcome for Zimbabwe power-sharing deal

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

The Methodist Church and the United Reformed Church have welcomednews of the power-sharing deal reached between the Zanu-PF and MDCpolitical parties in Zimbabwe. But they have also expressed concernabout the practical realities of the deal.

Roy Crowder, Methodist Partnership Coordinator for Africa, says,'Clearly Zanu-PF have reached a point of weakness and cannotcontinue to run the country alone, possibly because their fundinghas run out and they can no longer afford to control the securityforces. Both parties are strong in different ways. Zanu-PF holdsthe reins of institutional power, but the international communityrefuses to recognise their status. While the MDC has had noinstitutional control, their presence in government could unlockinternational aid for the reconstruction of this desperate country.Much will now depend on which party influences and controls theZimbabwean security forces.'

"Many people have taken significant risks to outline a vision fora new Zimbabwe,' continues Frank Kantor, Secretary for Church andSociety for the United Reformed Church. 'The country desperatelyneeds courageous leadership to make this vision a reality and tofind ways to balance the requirements of justice with those ofnational healing and reconciliation in Zimbabwe. The people ofZimbabwe are looking for permanent long-term change. It will bedifficult for this power-sharing arrangement to deliver fundamentalreforms unless it addresses this need.'

The Churches are urging people to pray for the situation inZimbabwe and have offered the following prayer for use byindividuals, 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.