President, the people are suffering. Proverbs 21:13,” read Pastor Patrick Magadza’s protest placard when he was arrested last year. Magadza was released, but, in April 2016, Scripture Union was banned from meeting in schools. In May new legislation stipulated that children must begin their school day reciting a pledge of loyalty to the government and President Mugabe. Churches objected to the humanist indoctrination agenda of this new rule for schools, and the government responded by banning church meetings on government property, affecting thousands of rural congregations that worship in schools. In July, Pastor Evan Mawarire was arrested for treason, his “This Flag” movement calling for the restoration of justice. Thousands of Christians gathered outside the court to witness his acquittal on a technicality.
Zimbabwe has a long history of widespread human rights violations that spans the 36 years since Mugabe came to power in 1980. The country has become a de facto totalitarian state where the all-pervasive security police control every aspect of daily life. The government’s contempt for the rule of law means many of Zimbabwe’s Christians, especially those who speak out for justice and righteousness, face great pressure under the regime of the ruling ZANU-PF.
The country is coming out of the worst drought in living memory that has left over four million people starving because of an almost-total crop failure. Some families are reduced to less than a meal a day, children are too weak to attend school, there are almost no jobs, and there is virtually no money supply save worthless government “bonds”. Through it all, Barnabas Fund continues with its Project Joseph via its Church partners to distribute maize meal, the staple diet, as well as supporting a farming project that trains subsistence farmers, especially in drought conditions.
Pray that the calls for justice continue as Christians unite in their increasingly bold demands for the re-establishment of the rule of law. The hand of God in this is surely evident with Pastor Evan Mawarire’s release. Pray also that the rains continue and bring to fruition a crop and subsequent harvest in May/June that will avert total desolation and starvation; and pray that the government will allow the importation of foreign food aid to see the country through its darkest of days.