MDC Councillors walked out of a prayer meeting for Cyclone Idai victims at Harvest House International Church in Bulawayo after a senior pastor at the church began openly praising President Emmerson Mnangagwa while giving his sermon.
The city Fathers led by Bulawayo Mayor Solomon Mguni felt offended after Pastor Frank Kunda said President Mnangagwa was gifted with “foresight and visionary leadership”.
Councillors Mlandu Ncube , Sikhululekile Moyo, Shadreck Sibanda, Donaldson Mabutho, Arnold Batirai, Pilate Moyo and Tawanda Ruzive, who were all elected on an MDC ticket, scrambled for the exit after the men of cloth sang Mnangagwa’s praises.
“The behaviour offends against the spirit of unity and diversity in the city and more particularly in that, we had been invited to pray for Victims of Cyclone Idai. There was, with respect, no need to politicise the process. It was a call to duty,” Councillor Mguni told media house CITE.
“People must distinguish a political party business from a government function”.
Also present at the sermon were minister of state Judith Ncube, Provincial Administrator Khonzani Ncube, Acting Town Clerk Mrs Sikhangele Zhou and Zanu PF politburo member Absolom Sikhosana.
Cllr Mguni said after they walked out, Minister Ncube tried to do damage control by telling Reverend Sarah Nyathi, who is the wife to the founder of the church, Dr Collin Nyathi, that the Mayor had asked to be excused.
Contacted for comment, Harvest House International Church founder Bishop Colin Nyathi said he was not part of the sermon but there were no political statements said during the prayer meeting.
“My wife was there and would have told me if any problems were encountered. She reported the service was interesting and the mayor even stayed for lunch. We do not make any political statements at our church,” he said.