Zimbabwe prays for peace after poll violence

Clergymen led prayers for peace as Zimbabweans went to church for the first Sunday service since this week's historic elections, marred by deadly violence and fraud claims.

"Zimbabwe right now needs peace, it needs unity. Zimbabwe is known for peace, it's a peace-loving nation," said worshipper Emmanuel Masvikeni, 46.

"People dying to prop up the politicians... is not justified," Masvikeni told AFP in front of the imposing carved stone facade of Harare's Sacred Heart Catholic Cathedral.

"I was quite disturbed, taken aback and very worried," he said of Wednesday's unrest.

Religious leaders in the Christian-majority country called for calm after troops in central Harare opened fire on demonstrators protesting alleged electoral fraud, killing six.

Inside Sacred Heart, worshippers bathed in the light of the green stained-glass windows sang songs of praise in the local Shona language while dancing in the aisles.

In the pews, young men in new Converse sneakers rubbed shoulders with pensioners in blazers and bright patterned dresses.

* Sign up to News24's top Africa news in your inbox: SUBSCRIBE TO THE HELLO AFRICA NEWSLETTER

FOLLOW News24 Africa on Twitter and Facebook

"It is the church that encourages unity among us citizens of the country -- despite their affiliations," said accounting student Clemence Matare, 24.

The sermon, delivered to several hundred tightly-packed worshippers, was on the theme of peace-making and moving on from the past.

"What I heard today was; let God bring peace, let God bring stability to the country of Zimbabwe," said church-goer Patricia Gladys Thompson, a 54-year-old accountant.

"I'm very much optimistic the leadership will change and Zimbabwe will change for the better."

President Emmerson Mnangagwa has been declared winner of Zimbabwe's first elections since autocrat Robert Mugabe was ousted by the military last year.

He has insisted the elections were free and fair, vowing to turn a page on 37 years of iron-fisted rule under Mugabe and revive the shattered economy.

The post-election crackdown sparked international condemnation, and Mnangagwa has pledged an independent investigation.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
Zama zama crackdown: What are your thoughts on West Village residents taking the law into their own hands?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Authorities should bring in the army already
11% - 2270 votes
Illegal miners can't be scapegoated for all crime
48% - 9915 votes
What else did we expect without no proper policing
37% - 7588 votes
Vigilante groups are also part of the problem
4% - 751 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
16.64
-1.5%
Rand - Pound
20.09
-1.2%
Rand - Euro
16.91
-1.4%
Rand - Aus dollar
11.53
-0.1%
Rand - Yen
0.12
-0.7%
Gold
1,766.96
-0.5%
Silver
19.77
-1.8%
Palladium
2,148.50
-0.5%
Platinum
928.50
-1.0%
Brent Crude
92.34
-3.0%
Top 40
64,032
-1.1%
All Share
70,832
-0.9%
Resource 10
63,110
-3.5%
Industrial 25
87,289
+0.3%
Financial 15
16,112
-0.8%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE