Leading clerics were planning to hold prayer events in Harare and Bulawayo under the banner “Deliver us from Evil”.
The prayers would be offered for open political dialogue, political stability, good rains and food for all, real peace and prosperity for all, HIV/AIDS, truth justice and reconciliation, violent free democratic society, new and old farmers, and end to corruption, and free and fair elections.
Viewing cable 04HARARE495, DELIVER US FROM EVIL”: NATIONAL PRAYER EVENT SET
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
221546Z Mar 04
C O N F I D E N T I A L HARARE 000495
AF/S FOR S. DELISI, L. AROIAN, M. RAYNOR
NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR J. FRAZER, D. TEITELBAUM
LONDON FOR C. GURNEY
PARIS FOR C. NEARY
NAIROBI FOR T. PFLAUMER
E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/22/2009
SUBJECT: “DELIVER US FROM EVIL”: NATIONAL PRAYER EVENT SET
FOR MARCH 27
Classified By: Political Officer Win Dayton under Section 1.5(b), (d)
¶1. (U) Involving broad participation from leading clerics
around the country, an ecumenical day of prayer is being
planned for March 27. Under a banner “Deliver Us From Evil”
in a March 21 advertisement in the independent weekly
Standard, the Zimbabwe National Pastors Conference and
Christians Together for Peace and Justice invited the public
to two events — a two-hour session at the City Sport Center
in Harare and a three-hour event at St. Mary’s Catholic
Cathedral in Bulawayo. The announcement states that prayers
would be offered for open political dialogue, political
stability, good rains and food for all, real peace and
prosperity for all, HIV/AIDS, truth justice and
reconciliation, violent free democratic society, new and old
farmers, and end to corruption, and free and fair elections.
¶2. (C) The event has been planned quietly for months.
Clerics involved have told us that the participation has been
wired down to the congregation level and they expect
participation from church leaders throughout the region,
including clerics from South Africa, Kenya, Malawi, Lesotho,
Mozambique and Botswana. Catholic Bishop Pius Ncube told the
Ambassador March 22 that the organizers were undecided on
whether to march from the Catholic Cathedral to the Anglican
Cathedral in Bulawayo. He said he had argued strongly
against it, noting that such a march would violate draconian
anti-assembly laws and give the GOZ pretense to arrest or
even commit violence against the throng. He asserted that
they would be safe in the cathedral and said he thought a
permit had been obtained for the Harare event. Ncube said
the organizers are planning to gauge the atmosphere of the
Bulawayo crowd on March 27 and make a decision at the venue.
¶3. (C) COMMENT: Assuming the meetings proceed, The
Ambassador plans to attend the Harare gathering and a poloff
will be present at the Bulawayo meeting. We are quietly
suggesting other diplomatic missions send representatives as
well. If authorities did issue a permit for the Harare
event, it is quite likely they will retract it after seeing
the tenor of the advertisement. Whether one or both events
is held or not, their organization appears to have reached
critical mass and poses a tactical challenge to GOZ. Since
last June’s stay-away, the GOZ has generally done whatever
was necessary to stem any momentum for mass expression of
dissent without regard to public relations concerns.