Zimbabwe’s harmonised elections on July 31 marked an end of the shaky government of national unity-under intense regional pressure. Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his rival President Robert Mugabe formed a power-sharing government in 2009 to avoid a complete meltdown in the country, whose economy had collapsed under world-record hyperinflation after a bloody presidential run-off election that left more than 200 Tsvangirai supporters.
Churches bodies have held various peace meetings around the country encouraging Zimbabweans to live peacefully ahead of elections. The church bodies also met both Tsvangirai and Mugabe encouraging them to champion peace to bring societal harmony which is glaring absent in polarised Zimbabwe ahead of elections.
Both President Mugabe and Prime Minister Tsvangirai are on record preaching peace and this is indeed welcome, now as we enter the final lap towards elections where emotions are likely to be high, it is critical that churches preach tolerance to their multitudes.
However to date the nation has seen the emergence of youth militia groups driving political violence, the groups include Chipangano operating in Harare, Top Six in Chinhoyi, Jocho-mondo in Hurungwe, Jambanja in Marambapfungwe and Alshabab in Kwekwe.
Religion in Zimbabwe is covering the elections in Zimbabwe as they happen from a religious point of view.
Many people talk of their great fear that the pending elections might just be another cycle of political violence because little has changed on the ground to build their confidence that they can vote freely.
In despair they daily look at people responsible for the 2008 violence, whom the unity government failed to hold accountable, walking free. Instead of focusing on pulling themselves out of poverty and on rebuilding lives shattered by the 2008 political violence, people are bracing themselves for further violence and chaos.
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