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Given all that is going on in Zimbabwe, it is hardly surprising that the Lord has been putting Africa on my heart more than usual this week. We thought you might find it helpful to summarise the situation there, and to join in praying for the Zimbabwe at this pivotal moment in its history.

At the time of writing, the nation is waiting to see what will come of the initiative taken by the army to put Mugabe under house arrest.

The hyperinflation of a decade or so may have lessened, but Zimbabwe remains a country where unemployment levels are huge, and where something like one in five of all adults are infected with the HIV virus, and tens of thousands have died from it. With inflation now at running at 250%, this remains the highest level in the world after Venezuela. Zimbabwe, where my father was born, is at a cross roads.

Although many workers, including some of the army, have not been paid for a very long time, it has not primarily been a populist uprising against the economic shortages that has prompted recent events any more than it is the result of concerted pressure from the Western nations – which see no reason to intervene since none of its so called vital interests are at stake. No, the army takeover is really the outcome of the internal struggle within the ruling party to determine who should succeed Robert Mugabe – and, specifically, to prevent him handing the reins of power to his highly unpopular wife, Grace.

There is a real risk of renewed violence breaking out between the various factions; and added to which, behind the scenes, is the influence of Chinese Marxist forces to contend with. You can read of a truly terrible example of how deadly such links have proved to be in the past in this reference to the largely forgotten massacres that Mugabe orchestrated back in the 1980s: that the British authorities, to our shame, chose to turn a blind eye to.

Hazel Cameron of the University of St Andrews, who wrote the article, concludes,

‘With the end of Mugabe’s long reign drawing ever closer, it is imperative that the international community help develop strategies to help Zimbabweans address the prevailing impunity and lack of accountability for the crimes of Gukurahundi. (see the article above) That is critical for the establishment of truth, justice, and accountability for the victims, survivors and their families.’

This is certainly something to pray for – but our primary focus here is on what the Lord can bring about.

The response of both the African Union and of South Africa is important with regard to what happens next. In many ways it has been the support of South Africa that has enabled Robert Mugabe to survive these long 37 years, during which many in the country have experienced extreme misery.

We are wise then to bear South Africa and President Zuma and the ruling party there in mind. President Zuma would be facing a staggering 800 charges of corruption were he not the one in charge. This article concludes that, because so many in the ANC leadership are infected by Zuma’s ways of thinking and acting, South Africa’s problems run too deep to be solved simply by ousting its leader.

Join us now in praying for the Lord’s mercy and purposes to prevail in Zimbabwe – but let’s keep South Africa in mind as well.

Further links:

1) This overview from the BBC compliments and expands on some of what we have shared here.

2) The Zimbabwean – A Voice for the Voiceless (an organisation of which I know nothing) published a powerful article a year ago called Not the Zimbabwe we want but the Zimbabwe God wants

3) Many of Africa’s woes from the past are still very much with us. CNN has been leading a campaign to expose slavery worldwide, and has recently shared this powerful short clip that they managed to film secretly of a slave market in Libya.