Some apostolic churches converging under the banner of the Zimbabwe Amalgamated Churches Council (Zacc) are trying to bring together President Emmerson Mnangagwa and the country's former leader, Robert Mugabe – in a bid to diffuse rising tensions between the two.
This comes as Mugabe stands accused of trying to scuttle Mnangagwa’s electoral prospects later this year, by working with all forces opposed to the new president’s administration.
Zacc patron Jimayi Muduvuri told the Daily News yesterday that they had engaged a director who had close links with the former president, in an endeavour to try and bring Mugabe and Mnangagwa to the negotiating table.
“What the former president is doing is wrong. He owes the current president support because the two have been together for more than 50 years. If anything, they should be able to talk.
“The former president should not be used by some people to fight a man who regards him as a father. Back in 2003, I was told by the late vice president Simon Muzenda that Zimbabwe should not have tribal politics, adding that all tribes were equal and the former president should not be used to push for a tribal agenda.
“Now as the Church, we are saying that whoever is pushing Mugabe back into politics is wrong. It is evil to abuse such an elderly person . . . and all churches are behind the new president,” Muduvuri said.
The attempts by the churches to bring the two men together follow similar manoeuvres by former Cabinet ministers Walter Mzembi and Makhosini Hlongwane, who have sounded Mugabe and his wife out about making peace with Mnangagwa.
The Mzembi-led initiative — that was first revealed in the Daily News last week and which was presented to Mugabe three weeks ago at his Blue Roof mansion in Harare — followed a sharp escalation in hostilities between the two leaders.
The two former ministers have reportedly asked Mugabe to reflect on the possible consequences of his intransigence as a founding Zanu PF leader, as well as about the results of his failure to reconcile with his successor.
The Daily News understands that these talks have not been easy, although Mugabe is said to have conceded to the team that it had tabled a “superior argument” and went on to assign the duo to hammer out a discussion document.
Mugabe fell out with Mnangagwa when he fired the 75-year-old leader both from being his deputy in government and from Zanu PF in November last year, as his long-drawn succession war boiled over.
The tables turned on Mugabe when he resigned the same month following a military intervention which paved the way for Mnangagwa to take over the reins at both government and Zanu PF level.
Mugabe and Mnangagwa had until then shared a very close relationship that dated back to the days of the liberation struggle when the latter was the former’s aide.