1) Presidential Election Results were released this afternoon in Zimbabwe by ZEC. Now, candidates will review the election results and challenge numbers, as they disagree. This process could take a week or more.
2) Currently, the figures are the following: Morgan Tsvangirai 47.9% to 43.2% for Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe's leader since independence in 1980. 50% was needed to avoid a runoff. MDC, Morgan's political party, states that Morgan received 50.3% based on their own reporting.
3) ZANU-PF, Mugabe's party, has said it will participate in a run-off. MDC and Morgan are meeting this weekend to decide whether to contest the results further or agree to a runoff, which would (if the constitution is followed) occur within 3 weeks.
I have posted a news story from CNN and will be posting over the weekend as news comes out. http://travelwithfvi.blogspot
I spent the morning and afternoon talking to folks in the various corners of the country trying to get a read on reaction, as well as current conditions in country, particularly close to our projects. The reactions were mixed. People are very aware in the rural areas throughout and the eastern cities that violence related to the election is occurring. Toward the west and Vic Falls, there is more concern for food availability than the election results. Our projects continue to be safe from violence, but vulnerable if things spread.
My wife and I are due to arrive in Zim in June for 2 weeks, after a week in Zambia in May. As of now, we still plan to go based on the recommendation of all the people I rely on in the country. It is quite safe for people with money, as well as those living in areas around Bulawayo, where the government considers unlikely to vote for Mugabe. This is where we will be. Please be praying about this upcoming trip, as well as for safety for our partners.
Overall - it is a country that remains on the brink of complete collapse, if the 162,000% inflation and empty food shelves weren't enough. This weekend will be incredibly important as the parties determine what next for Zimbabwe.
Forgotten Voices now works with 130 churches in Zimbabwe caring for about 2,400 orphans through locally run and locally developed orphan care plans across the country. Ministry is difficult, but necessary, especially in these trying times. If you haven't done so already or lately, please consider giving to Forgotten Voices so we can make sure to continue funding projects in this difficult time. You can donate online today at www.ForgottenVoices.org.
Thank you all for your continued prayers, support and well wishes for our friends in Zimbabwe. Please also pray for our network there, the vulnerable kids they care for, as well as for me as I make difficult call after difficult call...trying to assess need and response appropriately and realistically. Pray also for the donors and churches here in the United States, as well as our Volunteer Leadership Team that makes Forgotten Voices run.