Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has called the church to pray for the country ahead of a potentially explosive election that will be held this year.

Speaking to bishops drawn from the Methodist Church in Zimbabwe, the Anglican Church, the Salvation Army, the United Church of Christ in Zimbabwe, and the Apostolic Faith Mission, Tsvangirai, who is in power sharing government with President Robert Mugabe, who is accused of riding on violence to return to power, said there is need for prayers.

With memories of the last election held in 2008, which was characterised by violence, Tsvangirai said there is a need to embrace peace across the political divide.

“It would be remiss of me if I do not express our wish for the church to play its role in ensuring peace in the country as we prepare for the next election. You must continue to pray for peace in the homes, peace in the parties, peace among the national leaders, peace on the farms and peace in the villages,” said Tsvangirai.

Although both Mugabe and Tsvangirai have called for peace, violence incidents are still common in the country ahead of election which could be held in the next five months.

“There should be no death or injuries caused by one Zimbabwean attacking the other for political reasons. As Principals, we have spoken on the need for peace in the country but please pray for the country so that words of peace are translated into true and practical peace on the ground.”

Tsvangirai added: “I have seen some politicians attending churches, not to encourage the church to pray for the nation but campaigning for their parties and chanting slogans. That is despicable and should not happen. The pulpit is not a platform for politics but for the word of God,” said Tsvangirai.

While it is universally acknowledged that Zimbabwe is run by a coalition government, there are some pockets of resistance.

In Shamva for instance about 80 km west of Harare, Tsvangirai’s party is not accepted.  

“Yes, we may be Principals as Morgan Tsvangirai or Robert Mugabe, but the true Principal responsible for all our lives is God and we must pray for his intervention to ensure true and everlasting peace in this country of our birth,” said Tsvangirai.

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