DEAR brothers and sisters in Christ. We have been deeply disturbed by the continual reports from Zimbabwe of ever increasing levels of violence and deprivation.
We appreciate that it is an incredibly difficult time for you as you seek to minister God’s love for all people in the lead-up to the presidential run-off election on June 27. We are shocked by the rising level of hunger, the lack of medical treatment and the growing numbers of vicious attacks on people, including those working for the churches, Christian Care
and the Student Christian Movement.
When so many are dependent on relief assistance for their basic supplies we were saddened to hear that groups including Christian Care can no longer (freely) distribute the food people so desperately need.
What is perhaps saddest of all is the failure of the Zimbabwe government to protect its people from these injustices and its deliberate efforts to interfere with the election.
On this basis, and recognising the life we share together as the body of Christ, we ask you to support the right of all Zimbabweans to participate in safe, free and fair elections on June 27 by speaking out publicly and directly to those involved. We believe the churches have a responsibility to encourage people to vote while assuring them that their efforts will contribute to the restoration of the country. At such times it is important for the churches to stand strongly within the prophetic tradition and speak out courageously in favour of those who have been made poor at the hands of the powerful.
In previous elections the international church community has provided election observers. Under the current circumstances, when there is so much international attention and where the results are so critical, it is important the churches advocate for adequate election observers throughout the country, including from churches in neighbouring countries, the Vatican, the World Council of Churches and
the All Africa Conference of Churches.
Finally, the ability of reporters to travel widely and safely to report on what is happening in both national and international media will contribute greatly to ensuring the elections are free and fair. We encourage you to defend this freedom and to support media representatives however you are able. The world is watching and we can use the news we receive to strengthen the international support for free and fair elections in Zimbabwe.
We assure you that the churches of Aotearoa New Zealand continue to pray for the people of Zimbabwe, the church community and the long term future of the country. Together we are participating in the “season of prayer” in response to your great need and in the gospel that proclaims freedom and hope even when fear prevails. Be assured that we care very deeply for your country and long for the day that
peace will prevail and hope be restored.
In the Name of the risen Christ.
*David Moxon, Co-presiding Archbishop of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa New Zealand and Polynesia.
*John A Dew, Archbishop of Wellington
*Roman Catholic Church of New Zealand
*Brian Turner, President Methodist Church of New Zealand
*Rodney Macann, National Leader Baptist Union of New Zealand
*Pamela Tankersley, Assembly Moderator Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand
*W V (Bill) Robinson, Year Meeting Clerk
*The religious Society of Friends in Aotearoa New Zealand