The Baptist Union of Southern Africa is urging its members to pray and vote in the national and provincial elections on Wednesday in South Africa.
Although the African National Congress (ANC) – the party of South Africa's first democratically elected president Nelson Mandela – is expected to easily win, the election is still considered the most open since the end of apartheid and arguably the first in which a party is not guaranteed victory.
In addition to its openness, the upcoming election is of particular interest to the international community because of the important economic and political role South Africa plays on the continent.
"Many good people are disillusioned and discouraged...they feel politics is so hopelessly corrupt, it is useless becoming involved in it," the Christian Citizenship Committee of the Baptist Union of Southern Africa (BUSA) said in its voting guidelines to Baptist churches in South Africa, "but we must seek the peace and prosperity of the city and state in which God has placed us."
The Baptist union called on its members to pray that South Africa's democracy might be strengthened and for "more men and women to be elected who have a real desire to serve the nation and not just their own interests."
If the ANC wins as expected, its leader Jacob Zuma is anticipated to be elected by Parliament to be president. In South Africa, the national assembly elected by the people selects the person to become president of the country.
Zuma is a controversial figure who faced charges of corruption, which were recently dropped, and was accused of rape, which he was acquitted of following a high-profile court case.
Despite his questionable history, most opinion polls show Zuma is expected to garner from 60 percent to 70 percent of the popular vote.
"Every citizen of South Africa is given an opportunity to vote for the party of their choice to become the government. If good people do not vote, only bad people will vote, and the results will be disastrous," the BUSA said.
The results of South Africa's elections are expected to be released on Saturday or Sunday.