Bishop Naison Shava, head of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zimbabwe and president of the Zimbabwe Council of Churches, told the All Africa Conference of Churches that removing his country’s ruler, Robert Mugabe, by force will cause more bloodshed.
“When we say let’s remove Mugabe from office, who will suffer most between him and the ordinary people? That was the mistake the world made when it removed Iraq’s Saddam Hussein,” Shava said. “Zimbabweans have suffered a lot and we cannot afford to expose them to more suffering. Zimbabweans have died a lot and we can’t afford even one more death.”
The church must have a shared voice and goal in the crisis—difficult when the church in Zimbabwe is polarized and fragmented, Shava said.
In related news, Ishmael Noko, general secretary of the Lutheran World Federation and a pastor of the Zimbabwean church, asked Lutherans in southern Africa to push their governments to help “bring an end to the suffering of the people of Zimbabwe. It is not acceptable that President Mugabe continues to blame others for Zimbabwe’s plight, while he demonstrates no regard for the agonies of ordinary Zimbabweans. Indeed, he acts against his own people as if they were enemies.”
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