Zion Christian Church (ZCC) Bishop Nehemiah Mutendi yesterday told President Emmerson Mnangagwa that indigenous and apostolic churches should not be considered as his puppets as is widely viewed due to their public endorsement of his leadership.
Speaking at a Zimbabwe Indigenous Interdenominational Council of Churches conference at the National Sports Stadium in Harare yesterday, Mutendi, who is widely considered as a Mnangagwa bootlicker, said churches did not focus on politics but praying for the leadership.
“Your Excellency, you need our prayers. We are the first group to be allowed to pray inside State House and as the Zimbabwean indigenous churches, we do not focus on politics, but we are here to bring the Word of God to people and pray for the good of our nation,” Mutendi said.
“We are not going to be the puppets of anyone, not even your government; but we are only puppets to God. We want you to acknowledge us as churches.”
The ZCC leader said churches that came with colonial masters were given land to build their churches and do other projects and challenged Mnangagwa’s government to do the same for indigenous churches.
“We want you to acknowledge us as indigenous churches. The colonial governments were giving farms to churches they came along with. We want the government to give us the same privileges,” Mutendi said.
Leader of a faction of the Apostolic Faith Mission (AFM) in Zimbabwe, Cossam Chiangwa, speaking on the sidelines of the event, said the country had reached a desperate stage and there was need for churches to break all traditional, religious and doctrinal barriers that forbid people from uniting.
“It’s no time to entertain any division, but to join hearts, minds and hands together in the spirit of overturning our national misfortunes. Our eyes see through that need, that is why we have supported this grand national cause,” Chiangwa said.
Mnangagwa promised that his government would allocate churches state land for free to build churches. He said the unity that was being shown by the indigenous churches should be emulated by politicians.
“The indigenous churches have united to come up with this conference and what stops us politicians from different political parties to work together without being influenced by outsiders?” Mnangagwa asked.
“We may differ on choices as well as our origins, colour and beliefs, but we should not allow that to divide us, the church will continue to be exemplary as we pursue the agenda for economic development.”
He said government would strengthen and reinforce mechanisms and institutions in the fight against corruption and to end violence.
— The Standard