President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Wednesday said his government enjoys good relations with local churches dating back to the days of the liberation struggle.
Addressing the Zanu PF politburo meeting, President Mnangagwa said such a relationship was pivotal to national development.
“Zanu PF has a close relationship with the Church, dating back to the days of the liberation struggle. In the post independence period, we continued to work well. Going forwards, we remain committed to working well with the church to advance the national development agenda, as a united people,” he said.
President Mnangagwa however castigated some church leaders who were meddling in the political affairs of the country and challenged them to remove their religious robes and form political parties.
“However it is most unfortunate when men of the cloth begin to use the pulpit to advance a nefarious agenda for detractors of our country. Those who want to enter the political realm are welcome to do so. They must come out and form political parties. As Zanu PF we are ready for the 2023 elections,” he said.
His comments were in response to a pastoral letter which the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops Conference wrote accusing the government of perpetrating human rights abuses.
The Bishops based their accusations on the arrest of organisers of the foiled July 31 street protests which the government banned on security and health grounds.
President Mnangagwa commended Zimbabweans for not participating in the demonstrations which had been called for by the opposition and some civic organisations.
“I want to commend the party and the citizens in general for shunning the machinations of violence and division through the planned ill –fated July 31 insurrection. Following their crushing failure, our detractors are evidently in disarray and desperate and grasping at straws to destroy confidence in our democratically elected Government. They are equally on overdrive to discredit our people centred programmes,” he said.
— New Ziana