Harare, Zimbabwe, Jun 13, 2018 / 15:24 pm
Christian leaders in Zimbabwe are stressing the need for civility and a peaceful transition as the country prepares for a major presidential election next month.
Leaders from different Christian groups met on May 28-30 in the capital city of Harare for a conference themed “Religious Leaders Supporting the Zimbabwe Peace Process.”
The conference was attended by major religious leaders, including the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops’ Conference, Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe, and Union for Development of Apostolic Churches in Zimbabwe.
Participants analyzed the peace processes in neighboring countries that have faced election violence, such as South African and Kenya.
Paul Muchena, national coordinator for the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace in Zimbabwe, said the conference’s main goal was “to enhance the church’s participation in peace processes through such initiatives as dialogue, mediation, peace and reconciliation leading to national transformation.”
The July 30 elections will be the first since former president Robert Mugabe was ousted from power last November, ending his 37 years in office.
Mugabe had been in power since 1980. At the beginning of last November, thousands of protestors called for Mugabe’s resignation after he fired Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
The Zimbabwe National Army then staged a coup and Mugabe was placed under house arrest while an impeachment hearing was opened against him. He announced his resignation on Nov. 21, and Mnangagwa assumed power.