We pray and hope, for Zimbabwe's elections

by Kerstin Pihl & Sven Eckerdal last modified 31 July 2018 02:35 PM
We pray and hope, for Zimbabwe's elections

"I Pray I Vote" photo by Kerstin Pihl.

30 July 2018

Kerstin Pihl and Sven Eckerdal are currently in Zimbabwe to monitor the first election to take place since Robert Mugabe was forced to leave power in November 2017. Here comes a first snapshot of the situation in the country.

The cars roll along Harare’s busy avenues. Election campaign adverts featuring a smiling president promise a bright future if he receives a mandate to rule - a stark contrast to the begging children. Young children, ages around 4-10, mingle among the cars and reach out a hand when the cars slow at junctions or stop at red lights. This is a country that became a new, independent nation in 1980: Zimbabwe, where pride and hope gave the people the energy to work for a better future. Unfortunately, the resulting struggle for power and wealth impoverished the country and the people have lived in fear, with the majority living on no more than USD 5 per day.

President Mugabe relinquished power in November and there will be elections for the president, parliament and local councils on 30 July.

We are working here on behalf of the Church of Sweden and the Zimbabwe Christian Council. We are a group of 20 people from different churches who, together with local church members, will act as election observers. 80 percent of Zimbabweans attend regular services of worship and the Christian Council has launched a campaign called I pray I vote. As Christians, we have a responsibility in society to ensure it is a good society for everyone.

“The great commitment is making a big impression. Election night prayers will be held in many churches. The Christian Council has organized education in democracy and human rights. It is important that we all take responsibility for creating a peaceful and good society,” says the Christian Council.

It is exciting to be here and follow the election and carry out this work.

Many people say they are hoping for change, but they at the same time wonder if there really will be any change. 38 years of misrule have made them resigned to their fates. The “I pray I vote” campaign wants to provide hope and the courage to participate in a democratic society.

We pray and hope.

Kerstin Pihl and Sven Eckerdal

Praying and voting go together (WCC press release of 11 July 2018)

This blog is a translation of a post originally published in Swedish, edited and reproduced with permission from the Church of Sweden, Parish of Tjörn.

Disclaimer

The impressions, hopes and ideas expressed in this blog are the contributions of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or policies of the World Council of Churches.

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