Church Women Greatest Threat to Mugabe?
By Mary Theroux • Saturday October 18, 2008 2:51 PM PDT • 2 Comments
The International Herald Tribune reports that a protest group comprised of 60,000 church women, led by Jenni Williams, may be Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe’s ultimate downfall. Williams leads these “seamstresses, maids, vegetable sellers and hair dressers onto the streets ... [to] sing gospel songs, carry brooms to sweep the government clean (a figurative gesture, mostly) and bang on pots empty of food.”
While millions of Zimbabweans have fled the country in the face of oppression and starvation, Williams stays and continues her quest to “prepare Zimbabwe so everyone can come home.” Having been arrested 33 times, Williams currently faces the additional charge of “causing disaffection among security forces,” for having called for soldiers and police officers to refrain from beating people, which authorities deem “likely to induce the members to withhold their services [sic] or to commit breaches of discipline.”
The leader of a group of farmers and farm workers displaced by Mugabe’s land “reforms” sees Williams as the greatest current hope for bringing Mugabe down: “If we force Mugabe out, it will be the women who are his undoing. Jenni’s rattled Mugabe more than anyone else.”
Like her predecessors William Wilberforce bringing an end to the British slave trade, the Reverend Martin Luther King ending Jim Crow laws and leading the fight for civil rights, and Archbishop Desmond Tutu ending apartheid in South Africa and leading the transformative Truth and Reconciliation movement in its aftermath, as well as countless others, Jenni Williams is an inspiring reminder that a single voice, powered by the truth of God’s love for all His creation, can be a force beyond nature.