Who said things don’t change!
First, we heard that army tanks were rolling into Zimbabwe’s capital. Then we heard that generals had placed the President under house arrest. Social media was alive with theories upon conspiracy theories. Was a coup in progress? If so, this was a coup in slow motion. A really strange coup.
Then we heard and saw the announcement by the military, that this was “not a military takeover of government”. The dramatic events culminated in a change of leadership and government. President Mugabe resigned and was replaced by his former Vice President, Emerson Mnangagwa. New President, new government.
Whilst the world was transfixed by the strange transition, I was more interested in how the Zimbabwean people responded. When the tanks rolled in, we were worried about the safety of citizens. Despite the reports of gunfire and explosions, we were reassured when we saw that people were going about their business as normal. By the 18th of November, thousands were on the streets, demanding the resignation of the President.
But on 19th November, when the president refused to resign, we again worried about the reaction of the thousands who had been marching the day before. When he eventually resigned on 21st November 2017, there were wild celebrations.
Perhaps the most enduring aspect of the events was the level of peace throughout the country. Of course there was intense activity on social media, together with Zimbabweans’ versions of ‘fake news’. But the key characteristic was the non-violent nature of the transition. And of course the tongue-in-cheek humour.
Zimbabweans are a peace-loving and resilient people.
Our other interest was how the Christian community responded to the unfolding events. We are part of the many networks that have been consistently praying for Zimbabwe. But was this God answering our prayers? And now that the change has happened, what role do Christians need to play in the new dispensation. If it is new. How should they pray, now? What role do we play, as women who love their country?
In this issue, we are taking an excerpt on Praying for the Nations, from my book ‘Learning to Pray’. We give examples, from the Bible, of how to pray for, and effect transition at the national level.
…So they said, “Let us rise up and build.” Then they set their hands to this good work. Nehemiah 2:18 NKJV