Security unravels in the wake of Zimbabwe election

By July 1, 2008

Zimbabwe (MNN) — Zimbabwe's
president Robert Mugabe wasted no time being sworn into his sixth term
Sunday. He took his oath of office
following what the international community called a "sham" election.

This week, he's attending an
African Union Summit in hopes that he will boost his regime's legitimacy. The AU, meanwhile, is quietly moving
forward, hoping to find a resolution to the situation without more bloodshed.

One consideration is a
power-sharing government between Mugabe and his opponent, Morgan
Tsvangirai. Sanctions are also being
considered. 

Charles Debter with
Global Aid Network, or GaiN USA, spoke to a ministry partner in Zimbabwe in the resounding silence
following Friday's vote. "Groups of
youth were roaming the streets. If a person was stopped by them and couldn't
recite a particular political slogan or sing a political song, they may be put
in jail." 

The threat of violence was great
enough that Tsvangirai dropped out of the run-off after a campaign of
state-sponsored violence against his supporters.

However, simply because there's
been an inauguration doesn't mean things have totally settled down. The hint of turmoil lurks just beneath the
surface. It has prompted Global Aid's partner
to ask prayer for his team's safety and wisdom. 

In the days following the one-man "election," the streets are still seeing far less traffic than normal. The political problem didn't
just clear the streets. It also hampered the work of GAiN's ministry team. 

Debter says, "There have
been ministry volunteers who have been jailed because they were not able to
recite those slogans. So we really need to pray for those believers who were
working there, who want to be lights of Christ, but for whatever reasons
might be stopped and harassed."

The political instability means short-term
mission trips are on hold. Relief and
encouragement that would be brought to the field workers waits, for now. In the meantime, as if the scarcity of goods wasn't difficult enough, inflation
continues to skyrocket. Debter says
$40USD is roughly exchanged for a trillion Zimbabwean dollars–and that won't
even buy a pack of gum.   

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