Monday, 21 April 2008

Urgent Call to Rebuild Zimbabwe


Monday 21st April 2008

Churches concern at Zimbabwe violence

The Methodist and United Reformed Churches have together voiced their concern about increasing levels of violence and political intimidation, linked to the delay in announcing the result of Zimbabwe’s presidential election.

Commenting on the precarious situation, the Revd Dr Stephen Orchard, Moderator of the General Assembly of the United Reformed Church said: ‘The Zimbabwe Election Commission owes it to the long-suffering people of Zimbabwe to announce the presidential result without further delay, to enable people to begin the urgent task of rebuilding their shattered lives and economy. We condemn the campaign of violence and intimidation that has been embarked upon by members of the ruling party, following the announcement of the parliamentary election results. We also believe that people who hold power in any country have a first duty to care for the poor and vulnerable rather than for themselves’.

Reflecting on the escalating humanitarian crisis, the General Secretary of the Methodist Church, the Revd David Deeks, said ‘The impact on the lives of ordinary Zimbabweans has been immense. The people of Zimbabwe appear to have voted for change and the leaders of Southern African states bear a huge responsibility to ensure that the will of the people is respected. If that doesn’t happen, the crisis in Zimbabwe could have an increasingly devastating impact on the entire region’.

The two churches expressed their solidarity and support in prayer and action with their partner churches and agencies in Zimbabwe and pledged to continue working together to achieve peace, justice and prosperity there. They illustrated the plight of Zimbabweans with statistics, including:

INFLATION In 1987 inflation averaged 11.9 percent. It surged to an official record of 100,586 percent in January 2008, but economic experts say the real rate is much higher.

LIFE EXPECTANCY Average life expectancy dropped from 63 years in 1990 to 37.3 years in 2005, according to World Bank and U.N. figures.

UNEMPLOYMENT Estimated at about 80% of the working population.

The Methodist Church has about 295,000 members and 800,000 people are connected with the Church. It has about 5,800 churches in Great Britain, and also maintains links with other Methodist churches totalling a worldwide membership of 70 million.

The United Reformed Church comprises one hundred thousand people in 1600 congregations. It has brought together English Presbyterians, English, Welsh and Scottish Congregationalists and members of the Churches of Christ. Worldwide, more than 70 million Christians are members of the Reformed family of churches, the largest Protestant tradition. The name ‘Reformed’ is used because the churches began to emerge with reform movements in the sixteenth century.

For more information contact:

Stuart Dew
Press Officer
United Reformed Church House
86 Tavistock Place, London WC1H 9RT
tel. 020 7916 2020 or 07976 753950

Anna Drew
Media and Information Assistant
Methodist Church House, 25 Marylebone Road, London NW1 5JR
tel. 020 7467 5191 Fax 020 7467 5229

Toby Scott
Media Relations Officer
Methodist Church House, 25 Marylebone Road, London NW1 5JR
tel. 020 7467 5221 Fax 020 7467 5229 Mobile/Out of hours 07881 783 812


Olive Morgan said...

Since no-one else will comment, I will put on record that my heart is bleeding for the people of Zimbabwe and I'm praying for their release from this terrible situation. While our politicians are in revolt about our 'credit squeeze' and over on 'Connections' bloggers vie with each other to call Mugabe names, does nobody REALLY care about the people of Zimbabwe with no food on their supermarket shelves and no hope for their future?

Paul Martin said...

Olive, it is a tragedy. That Zimbabwe should be brought so low quite frankly is beyond belief after the hopes of 1979.

I see no hope without the ending of Mugabe's rule. Given South Africa's reluctance to act, I for one am not optimistic. Indeed, whenever he does fall, the country will need help from the world to rebuild after the devastation.

The people of Zimbabwe should be in our prayers as you have said.

Olive Morgan said...

Thanks, Paul. You are right in fearing for the people of Zimbabwe even when Mugabe's dictatorship ends. First, it seems that there are likely to be recriminations against those who supported him when in power. But then there will be the long haul to rebuild this once proud country. The trouble is that there are so many countries desperately needing help of this kind that it tests our faith that prosperity can be restored - until we bring our prayers to God who loves all His children equally. With God nothing is impossible - but He needs our help.