Diplomatic Progress, Continuing Violence in Zimbabwe

By Nontando Hadebe 6-19-2008

I will begin with some positive news of growing international pressure on the Zimbabwean government. The United Nations secretary general has demanded an end to the violence and lifting of the ban on food aid. The U.S. secretary of state has called a meeting with African leaders to discuss the situation, and the Botswana government has issued this statement: "Botswana is alarmed by these arrests and detentions as they disrupt electoral activities of key players and intimidate the electorate, thus undermining the process of holding a free, fair and democratic election."

The latter is particularly remarkable because this is the first government in the region that has issued an official statement condemning the violence. Botswana has always been a model of democracy in Africa but is now proving to be a model of statesmanship. Other leaders have followed suit and have together presented a document calling for an end to the violence and for free and fair elections. It is encouraging to witness this swell of support. Let us continue to pray for the process to continue and materialise in concrete action.

Sadly the situation on the ground has not yet changed, and violence continues. Yesterday when I felt overwhelmed by the violence, I recalled an African parable. It is a parable about a chick that was snatched from its mother by a hawk; the chick was asked why it was crying in such a hopeless situation. It replied, "I am not crying because I hope that someone will save me but because I want the world to know what happened to me."

For the sake of many who are victims of violence or have lost family members, it is our responsibility to tell their story to let the world know what is happening. As people of faith, we go further than the chick and trust that God will hear and act through people. Please continue to pray especially as we approach the week of the elections.

Nontando Hadebe, a former Sojourners intern, is originally from Zimbabwe and is now pursuing graduate studies in theology in South Africa.

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