A group of pastors, who claim to be spearheading President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s 2023 re-election campaign, are accused of ambushing church leaders across the country as they seek to recruit them to their movement.
The outfit known as Pastors 4ED is led by Zibagwe Rural District Council (RDC) ward 30 councillor and evangelist Idirashe Dongo.
Zibagwe is Mnangagwa’s home district. In a wide ranging interview, Dongo who is currently in Sweden, said they wanted every pastor in the country to join the grouping in support of Mnangagwa.
“It consists of all pastors, even those in the diaspora irrespective of their churches,” Dongo told The Standard.
“We don’t want to leave any pastor or church behind from the Pentecostal, Protestants, apostolic sects and reformed churches.”
She said they have a duty to campaign for Mnangagwa.
“It was inspired by the president himself.
“When we saw him visiting churches, building up relationships we said to ourselves, can we take it up and reach out to every head of church or administrators.
“He can’t go to every church in Zimbabwe.”
Mnangagwa has been visiting various churches as he targets the votes of the clergy in 2023.
“We have finished organising national structures and provincial structures are almost complete,” Dongo said.
“Manicaland Province finished with the districts and is now going to constituencies.
“Until we reach ward level, we want to account for every pastor. We want to understand their relationship with the president.
“If you read Romans 13: 1 to 6 says everyone including the church are subjects to the kings of the land.
“We want to create that relationship. The king and the prophets must walk hand in hand.”
Some pastors speaking on condition of anonymity told The Standard that they were being added into Pastors 4ED WhatsApp platforms without their consent.
“I found myself being added to a group Pastors 4ED Midlands Province.
“Anyone known to be a church leader is added unknowingly and instructed to tell congregants to support Mnangagwa in the forthcoming 2023 elections,” a United Methodist Church pastor from Gweru said.
“Their target is to have more than 1 600 church leaders who should campaign for Mnangagwa in churches.
“If you exit, they come to your inbox and eventually you’re forcibly added back. They ask for your details and it seems a lot will follow.”
Zanu PF political commissar Mike Bimha was coy when contacted for a comment on the alleged parallel structures spearheading Mnangagwa’s re-election campaign.
“I don’t know where that (concern over parallel structures) is coming from and those are not parallel structures,” Bhima said.
“These are movements and associations, not structures of the party. Our structures are main wing, women’s league, youth league and war veterans.”
Meanwhile, Zanu PF is targeting five million voters in the 2023 elections to ensure victory.
The ruling party has also formed a war veterans’ wing, a move meant to mobilise voters.
“This is important especially as we are facing detractors who are crafty, devious and desperate to destabilise our country and divide our people for their own ends,” President Mnangagwa said during war vets conference.
“Our detractors must never ever be allowed a foothold in any part of our country.
“The party and in particular you the war veterans, have the onus to be vigilant and alert.”
— The Standard