Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Stop violence and intimidation in Zimbabwe NOW

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. 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, must stop NOW. Surely people who hold power in any country have a first duty to care for the poor and vulnerable rather than for themselves.

By all reports, 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.

Like churches across the world, I am proud to express my solidarity and support in prayer and action with partner churches and agencies in Zimbabwe and pledged to continue working together to achieve peace, justice and prosperity there. They have 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.


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