After "what can be described as a façade election", the World Council of Churches (WCC) has called for the protection of the Zimbabwe population "against increased and continued violence", an "intensified international monitoring of the situation" and the provision of humanitarian aid.
The WCC also issued a warning concerning the possible consequences of economic sanctions.
Despite "much debate" about the current situation in Zimbabwe, from a religious point of view some principles remain firm, says the WCC general secretary the Rev Dr Samuel Kobia in a statement dated 4 July 2008.
Those principles are: "to prevent violence, [...] to react to situations of compelling human need with appropriate measures and to work toward the rebuilding of good will and reconciliation".
"Children and women are among the first to suffer if world governments choose to impose economic sanctions", the statement warns.
In reviewing the public stances of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, ex-South African President Nelson Mandela, the African Union and the United Nations Security Council, Kobia says "all are looking for justice and compassion for those who are caught up in the continued violence, food shortages and political intimidation".
While the WCC is ready to participate, together with African regional church bodies, in a suggested "international monitoring" process of the current situation in the country, the Council "looks forward to the day when Zimbabwe has an election that can truly be respected and seen as free, fair and just".
Full text of the WCC statement: http://www.oikoumene.org/?id=6104
WCC member churches in Zimbabwe: http://www.oikoumene.org/?id=4654