Cakes, Crumbs, and Surprises in Zimbabwe

The "cake" vs. "crumbs" power-sharing struggle continues in Zimbabwe. One of the reasons for the breakdown in the talks is that the government (ZANU-PF) wants the "whole power cake" and wants to give the opposition "crumbs." The intention of negotiations was to divide the "power cake" evenly so that a transitional government could be installed to stabilize the country and pave the way for fresh elections in two years. The memorandum of agreement signed by all parties agreed to this [...]

Something is Brewing

The combined outcome of events happening at the moment is hard to predict, but something is brewing in the southern African region around the issue of Zimbabwe. Here are "the key ingredients" in this pot:

1. The Southern African Development Community (SADC), a group of regional leaders representing 14 countries in southern Africa, are meeting this weekend. Top on the agenda is the situation in Zimbabwe.

2. At this meeting there will be a change of leadership from the president of Zambia to [...]

Power-Sharing in Zimbabwe

It is Tuesday, August 12, and the leaders of the political parties are still locked in talks of power sharing -- it was expected that a deal would be struck on Sunday, but to no avail, so the talks continue. Most of us are still digesting and coming to terms with the content of the proposed new deal -- some parts are hard to swallow, but I think the model of power-sharing being used by chief mediator Thabo Mbeki is modeled on the South African experience.

If you can recall, [...]

Slicing the Cake of Power in Zimbabwe

The latest development on talks between the opposition party -- the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) -- and ZANU-PF President Robert Mugabe is that they have produced a 50-page document as a way forward in power-sharing and the installation of a transitional government. The duration of the transitional government is still being debated -- the opposition wants two years and ZANU-PF wants five. The plan is to eventually dissolve the transitional government and hold fresh [...]

Diplomatic Progress, Continuing Violence in Zimbabwe

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 [...]

Prophetic Lament and Glimmers of Hope for Zimbabwe

How long, O Lord, must I call for help?
But you do not listen!
"Violence is everywhere!" I cry,
but you do not come to save.
Must I forever see these evil deeds?
Why must I watch all this misery?
Wherever I look,
I see destruction and violence.
I am surrounded by people
who love to argue and fight.
The law has become paralyzed,
and there is no justice in the courts.

--Habakkuk 1:2-4a

Habakkuk's lament reflects [...]

Danger and Opportunity in Zimbabwe and South Africa

I have heard that the Chinese symbol for crisis means both danger and opportunity. The political and economic crisis in Zimbabwe and the crisis brought by xenophobic violence in South Africa present both danger and opportunity. 

For many citizens from both countries, the crisis has become an opportunity to express their values of compassion and generosity.  In the past week, there has been an outpouring of aid from many local citizens in the form of provision of [...]

Thabo Mbeki Must Intervene in Zimbabwe

In the back and forth concerning the role South Africa must play in the crisis of human rights abuses under the reign of Robert Mugabe and his cronies, it is my belief that we must see some form of serious intervention.

I understand the need for diplomacy, which always calls for "you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours." But when endless reports have been publicized of the atrocities that the people of Zimbabwe are facing, South African President Thabo Mbeki must engage ways to ensure [...]

Things Fall Apart: Prayer Requests for South Africa and Zimbabwe

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

- William Butler Yeats, from his poem, "The Second Coming"

When I listen to stories of victims of the [...]