Displaying items by tag: Zimbabwe
Since its independence in 1980, Zimbabwe has experienced low-intensity conflict marked by periods of escalation and political violence. Once an economic powerhouse, Zimbabwe suffers from a worsening currency and economic crisis, leading to a rise in protests with some turning violent. Peace Direct and its partner, Envision Zimbabwe Women’s Trust, work in Murewa and Hurungwe districts to address the deeply embedded culture of violence by training traditional local leaders and the national police force in non-violent conflict resolution. They prevent violence against women by providing gender training and supporting women who have been victims of sexual violence or domestic abuse. Their local peace committees defuse community tensions through an ‘early warning early response’ network monitoring flashpoints of violence, so they can be quickly identified and calmed. Nationally unresolved conflicts remain rooted in disputes over national power and economic hardship.
A shopper grumbled while returning a loaf of bread to a rack - the price had jumped by a third. Nearby a half-mile queue of cars waited at an empty petrol station hoping for a delivery. Zimbabwe has an economic crisis. Basic goods prices rise weekly as the value of the Zimbabwean dollar tumbles. Inflation was 785.6% in April, and poverty is deepening. UN aid agencies reported that 7.7 million people, half of the population, require food assistance. A loaf of bread went up 36% last month, and last week a 22-pound sack of cornmeal jumped 30%. Fuel soared by 152% recently; a similar rise in 2019 sparked national demonstrations and deaths. ‘Things cannot continue this way. These people should just admit they have failed,’ said a Harare resident, referring to President Mnangagwa’s government which took power pledging to revive the economy. Pray for food aid to reach the hungry.
Coronavirus could not have come at a worse time for millions of Zimbabweans struggling with a deepening economic crisis, soaring food prices, stagnant salaries, water shortages and daily power blackouts. Early on 29 March Stewart Dzivira, his wife and their two-year-old son left Glen View to travel into Harare. For days now he has been unsuccessful in trying to get maize meal, a staple that has been in short supply following devastating droughts two years ago. He was not alone: hundreds of others were queueing on the eve of the three-week lockdown to contain coronavirus. Frequent thorough hand-washing with soap and water is the basic weapon against coronavirus, but in Harare alone one million people are without running water. Electricity is also scarce. Stewart said that without food ‘we’ll die of hunger.’
Somalia has declared a national emergency as desert locusts destroy vegetation. An average swarm containing 40 million insects can travel 150 km in 24 hours, devouring enough food to feed 34 million people in that time. The UN said it is a race against time to tackle this invasion amidst ongoing humanitarian challenges. A spokesman said, ‘We do have a chance to nip this problem in the bud, but that’s not what we’re doing at the moment.’ Kenya’s food security is threatened, particularly communities keeping livestock on endangered pastures. Swarms crossed into Uganda on 9 February, and Tanzania and South Sudan are now on the UN’s ‘watch list’. Also, insufficient rain means that over two million Somalis will need emergency food aid this year after the worst harvest in 25 years. 300,000 were displaced in eight months; many have headed for the capital, Mogadishu. Six million Kenyans are food-insecure, while seven million Zimbabweans need aid after successive droughts and an inflation rate of 300%. Urban families are feeling the pinch of soaring prices. See
Far from seeing reform after Robert Mugabe was toppled, the country has fallen into deeper crisis as millions are ‘reduced to paupers’. Power cuts from dawn to long after dusk are causing families to cook on firewood in almost total darkness. Monthly earnings barely cover two weeks’ living expenses. With Mnangagwa things have gone from bad to worse with outlandish austerity measures causing 175% inflation. Multiple currencies replaced by another new Zimbabwe dollar, fuel subsidies cut, poor harvests, a cyclone and drought have compounded problems. The Zimbabwe Church is calling for the international community and the government to hear the cries of Zimbabwean families surviving on two meals a day and lacking life-saving medicine. UK aid agency CAFOD is asking for national dialogue, for all in authority to come together and address the current crisis as they do what they can to assist with food, clean water supplies, and seeds (70% of the population grow their own food).
According to the UN, Idai could be the southern hemisphere’s worst-ever disaster. Over 2.6 million people have been affected. Pray for all those coping with stress, grief and loss. Zimbabwe was already in a food crisis; now most crops are washed away. There will be no harvest. Pray for adequate food aid. There is a desperate need for clean drinking water, especially in the ‘difficult to reach’ areas. Cholera has been reported in Beira, still struggling to provide clean water and sanitation. WHO is dispatching 900,000 doses of oral cholera vaccine to affected areas later this week. Pray that these supplies would be enough to halt the spread. Pray also for effective distribution of rehydration salts and adequate intravenous drips. Other waterborne diseases like typhoid and malaria also pose a risk. Pray for adequate healthcare to prevent all types of disease spreading.
The UN estimates that hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people were affected by Cyclone Idai; the world does not yet realise the enormity of the situation. Six days after its 106 mph winds and rain hit southern Africa, thousands are still cut off. Beira, where the storms first made landfall, was not reached for three days. Every building in the city (population 500,000) was damaged. The whole region is without power. Food, clothes and medicine are needed immediately, but flooded, damaged roads need repairing before assistance can reach them. Save the Children warned on 18 March that 100,000’s of children are at risk as rivers burst their banks. Malawi was flooded by torrential rainfall before Idai made landfall in Mozambique and Zimbabwe. Whole villages were swept away in the three countries. Pray for the military and humanitarian agencies trying to gain access to thousands of stranded people. Pray for abundant donations of food, drinking water, medicine and clothing to reach victims quickly, after what is believed to be the worst ever natural disaster in the southern hemisphere.
Zimbabwe is going through an economic crisis and is battling severe fuel shortages. The government recently announced a 150% petrol price increase, igniting widespread discontent, strikes and violent demonstrations. Then, while President Mnangagwa was out of the country, seeking much-needed foreign investment, police and soldiers launched large-scale operations against suspected protesters, activists and strike organisers. At least twelve people were killed and 78 treated for gunshot injuries, according to a local human rights group which recorded over 240 incidents of assault and torture and 700 arrests. People were hunted down in their homes by security forces and severely beaten, with arrests continuing after Mnangagwa had returned. He said, ‘Violence or misconduct by our security forces is unacceptable and a betrayal of the new Zimbabwe.’ Accused of conducting a deadly crackdown on dissent, the army and police denied any wrongdoing, saying some assailants raiding homes were wearing official uniforms to pose as security personnel.
The opposition party has rejected President Emmerson Mnangagwa's historic presidential election win after a poll marred by deadly violence and allegations of vote-rigging. On 2 August, Mnangagwa was declared the winner of the first election since the toppling of veteran leader Robert Mugabe, with a 6-point lead over Nelson Chamisa, head of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). Mnangagwa won 50.8 percent of the vote, the election commission said, and Chamisa 44%. The president tweeted, ‘Though we may have been divided at the polls, we are united in our dreams. This is a new beginning. Let us join hands in peace, unity, and love, and together build a new Zimbabwe for all!’ The chances of this happening appear slim, as the MDC has rejected the result as ‘fake’ and says it will challenge it in the courts. Six people have already died in clashes between protesters and the security forces which are patrolling the streets of Harare.
The country’s leaders of different denominations say Zimbabwe is between a crisis and a kairos opportunity. They are calling for prayer for, peace, respect for human dignity, a transitional government of national unity, and national dialogue. Their statement said, ‘The nation’s challenge is one of a loss of trust in the legitimacy of national processes. There is a strong sense that the hard-earned constitution is not being taken seriously. The wheels of democracy have become stuck in the mud of personalised politics where the generality of the citizenry plays an insignificant role, but we see the current arrangement as an opportunity for the birth of a new nation.’ The World Council of Churches is asking churches around the world to pray for Zimbabwe to embrace change and move forward without vengeance.