Pastors and advocates report that a new wave of persecution is washing over the churches of Zimbabwe as the country prepares for a new round of elections called by President Robert Mugabe and his ruling ZANU-PF party.

Churches are “being targeted and harassed by security agencies and militias which are controlled by ZANU PF,” said Marlon Zakeyo, the Zimbabwe advocacy coordinator of the World Student Christian Federation in Geneva. They are “in need of active and practical international solidarity and prayer,” he said.

Reports from the Central African nation state that leaders of many of the country’s evangelical, Anglican, Roman Catholic, and African Independent Churches—especially the Zion Christian Church and the VaPostori Apostolic sects—are being pressed into service by the regime to cement its hold on power.

While the former Anglican Bishop of Harare, Nolbert Kunonga, has long used his church to back “Zimbabwe’s Moses,” ZANU-PF is also alleged to have made a concerted effort to bring the Apostolic churches under its control.

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