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Zimbabweans pray for peaceful elections

Followers of the Apostolic Faith Mission pray for a peaceful election, during a mass at the Gospel Fire Cathedral in Mbare, Harare on August 20, 2023.   -  
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JOHN WESSELS/AFP or licensors


Numerous Zimbabweans prayed on Sunday for peace during the upcoming elections on Wednesday.

A ballot announced as tense following months of opposition repression and fears of fraud.

Politics and religion often intertwine in the southern African country, though Pastor Mukaro of the "Gospel Fire Cathedral" says the church deals only with spiritual matters and not politics.

"For us to prosper in everything that we do, we need the hand of God. Even if you look at our life materially, that’s why we encourage our people to work hard with their hands, to do something, to open business, projects whatever that can empower their lives, it’s what we are encouraging our people," shares Pastor Edson Mukaro.

Religious leaders have in the past sided with the party in power, Zanu-PF since independence in 1980.

Zimbabwe has a long history of contested elections marked by violence, and some fear a repeat of 2018 when the army opened fire on opposition demonstrators, killing six people.

"We are just praying for the peace in our nation that’s our most important prayer, bigger point of prayer, the peace has to prevail in our nation," noted Milton Muori, congregant.

"I just expect that we can have peace in our country," added Rumbidzai Lyn Muchanyirei, another congregant of the Gospel Fire Cathedral.

Nelson Chamisa, 45, main opponent of 80-year-old incumbent president Emmerson Mnangagwa, is an apostolic pastor.

A June survey conducted among 2,000 registered voters by Elite Africa Research put Chamisa in the lead with 47.6 percent of the vote and 38.7 percent for Mnangagwa.

If Chamisa wins, he would be one of the youngest presidents on a continent where the median age is 18.5, but the average age of a president is 62. Mugabe, Mnangagwa’s predecessor, was 93 years old at the time of his overthrow in a 2017 military coup.

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