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Planned visit to Zimbabwe in view of forthcoming elections

09 May 2000

Letter to Mr Densen Mafinyani, General Secretary of the ZCC, 9 May 2000.

Dear Densen,

Greetings in Christ Jesus.

Subsequent to the last letter Dr. Raiser sent you together with Dr Ishmael Noko, we have been in consultation with several of the agencies to which letters have gone from the ZCC with respect to monitoring of the elections. These conversations and the continuing difficulties in the situation in Zimbabwe have led us to the conclusion that we should seek an early opportunity to meet with you and others in the country to seek a deeper understanding of the situation. Dr Raiser has thus decided to send two staff colleagues, Ato Melaku Kifle and Dr Rogate Mshana, to Zimbabwe to consult about how we and other international partners can be most supportive of the churches' efforts. We have also asked Canon Clement Janda to designate one of his staff to join in the visit.

Situations like these are often difficult to deal with through correspondence, and we feel deeply the need to share with you in person our support. At the same time we need to be better informed in order to provide the guidance churches and partners around the world seek of us.

I sincerely hope that you will welcome this visit, which will have the following terms of reference:

  • to express solidarity with the ZCC and its churches
  • to gain a deeper understanding of the present economic and political situation;
  • to discuss your plans for monitoring elections and what we might do to support them;
  • to discuss the proposal we made to you to send an ecumenical pastoral team to Zimbabwe.

Melaku and Rogate plan to depart from Geneva on 13 May and to stay for about a week. Their plan is to meet with you and your staff, with other church leaders, with political and civil society actors, and with government representatives.

I sincerely hope you will welcome this visit as an expression of ecumenical solidarity and accompaniment. I would be most grateful to receive your agreement by prompt e-mail.

Yours ever,

Dwain C. Epps
International Relations