Generous Orthodoxy  




Friday, March 23, 2007

God on the march in Zimbabwe? God willing...

The Times of London (and other English papers) have far more news about Zimbabwe than we do. Could God be doing a mighty work there? In April 2005 I wrote in this blog that we as Christians should pray for the resistance movement there. Two years later, conditions have deteriorated to an almost unbelievable degree. Now the Christians of Zimbabwe are rising. Yesterday's Times of London reports these extraordinary developments. Here are a few excerpts:

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If even his security forces are growing restive, President Mugabe really is in trouble, and Roman Catholic Archbishop Pius Ncube added to his problems yesterday with his bold declaration at a meeting organised by the Zimbabwe Christian Alliance. The gangly, loose-limbed Archbishop had prefaced his remarks during a twilight interview with The Times earlier this week in a small garden next to his cathedral. “If we can get 30,000 people together even Mugabe’s army would not be able to control it,” he said, and indicated that he was thinking of stepping into the leadership vacuum caused by infighting within the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

Yesterday he did so. “It’s time for a radical stance, not soft speeches and cowardice,” Father Ncube, 60, declared to cheers from the assembled clerics. “I am willing to stand in front. The time is now. The pastors must be the ones in front of the blazing guns.”

...The dreaded Central Intelligence Office has informers everywhere — “even in church groups”, Archbishop Ncube told us. Opposition activists are frequently detained and beaten. Landlines are routinely tapped, so text messages have become the Opposition’s new bush telegraph. Fearful interviewees mostly insisted on talking strictly off-the-record — one prominent white begged me not to report his view that Mr Mugabe would not survive the year as he could be arrested for treason.

The Archbishop’s promise to lead “changes the whole scope of the crisis, and gives the struggle a new dimension”, Eldred Masunungure, a political scientist at the University of Zimbabwe, said.

The Archbishop was well known domestically and internationally. It would be hard for the regime to “bash” him. “He is emerging in the mould of [Desmond] Tutu. We need a Tutu in Zimbabwe,” Mr Masunungure said, referring to the Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town.

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We don't realize how many sacrifices journalists make to get stories like these from Zimbabwe. Here's the testimony of the London Times reporters:

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Richard Mills, the Times photographer, and I [Martin Fletcher] spent the past week travelling secretly around Zimbabwe. Foreign journalists face two years’ imprisonment if caught. We variously posed as aid donors, priests and chemical salesmen, and were passed from one trusted contact to another.

What we found was appalling. In rural areas of a nation that was once the pride of Africa, children are now dying of hunger. Families are abandoning their dead because they can no longer afford funerals. Young girls are turning to prostitution as their only means of survival.

Hyperinflation is rendering the currency, salaries, savings and pensions virtually worthless. Prices are doubling every month. The day we arrived in Harare we were taken to a suburban home where a black-market dealer gave us 12,000 Zimbabwean dollars for one US dollar. Seven days later the rate was Z$21,000. In one week the price of petrol — in the few stations still open — rose from Z$14,000 a litre to Z$21,000. Anyone without access to foreign currency faces destitution. Even whites are now begging...
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Here is the link to the whole article. Let us all pray for the resistance in Zimbabwe and for Bishop Ncube. Perhaps this will truly be a great action of the Lord in Africa.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/africa/article1555824.ece