It has been another week of high drama in South Africa and more mixed news from Zimbabwe. In South Africa three key issues have dominated public debate. Namely, the verbal confrontation between Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the African National Congress leadership; the mystery and suspense over whether the National Prosecuting Authority will go ahead and prosecute ANC President Jacob Zuma on corruption charges, and the election campaigns ahead of the elections on April 22.
Archbishop Tutu expressed his dismay over the ANC leader in light of corruption charges still pending against him, and in response the ANC lashed out at Tutu, accusing him of being out of touch with the "ordinary people." The exchange of words is still going on. It's a sad spectacle, because during apartheid when Tutu spoke against injustice, he was hailed as a hero, but now when he speaks about similar issues he does not get the same status !
We are still waiting for a decision on whether prosecution against Zuma will go ahead in light of new evidence brought by his lawyers. Lastly, election fever is mounting and political parties are working harder than before in trying to lure voters. It's interesting to listen to the issues that come from the grassroots -- most of these are for basic needs such as sanitation, running water, housing, and employment. Issues that are common across class boundaries are crime and corruption. With so much going on, we are all grateful for the five public holidays in April, including Easter (April 10, 13, 22, 27, and May 1)!
In Zimbabwe, all government ministers (70 total) are meeting today for a three-day workshop to launch the Short Term Emergency Recovery Program (STERP). According to the local paper, the purpose of STERP is to "address the key issues of economic stabilization, and national healing." It sets out actions that should be taken or actively considered in the first 100 days of the new inclusive administration. The five priority areas that have been identified as the cornerstone of STERP are economic stability, food security, restoration of basic services, guaranteeing of rights and freedoms, and improving international relations."
We pray for visionary leadership on both sides of the political divide to put the interests of Zimbabweans first and forge ahead with a program that will set in motion a process of recovery. Your continued prayers are requested. Thank you.
Nontando Hadebe, a former Sojourners intern, is originally from Zimbabwe and is now pursuing graduate studies in theology in South Africa.