Zanu PF has roped in prominent Harare church leader Emmanuel Makandiwa into its anti-sanctions campaign team.
Makandiwa, whose United Family International church draws a large following in the capital, gave an opening prayer at the former ruling party’s anti-sanctions campaign launch on Wednesday.
He went on to sign the petition against the travel restrictions imposed on President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF elite.
Makandiwa became the latest high-profile sect leader to join the Zanu PF bandwagon after Anglican faction leader Nolbert Kunonga, Pentecostal Assembly of Zimbabwe’s Trevor Manhanga, African Apostolic Church leader Paul Mwazha and Obadiah Musindo, among others.
Of late, Zanu PF has taken to the church to prop up its waning support base with President Mugabe last year making a surprise visit, clad in a white robe at the Johane Marange shrine near Chiadzwa.
The party has also embarked on a massive drive to recruit youthful urban groovers and celebrities with former Big Brother Africa star Munyaradzi Chidzonga among the biggest catches.
In his brief opening prayer Makandiwa said: “In the name of Jesus, we thank you for the day, and I commit the proceedings into your mighty hand. I pray for those in leadership positions and those in positions of authority. Help them bring ideas to make the nation grow.”
The charismatic youthful preacher famed for miracles, signed the anti-sanctions petition after President Robert Mugabe, Didymus Mutasa, war veterans leader Jabulani Sibanda and other senior Zanu PF officials.
Zanu PF has also endeared itself with Apostolic sects with Mutasa, Vice-President Joice Mujuru, ministers Webster Shamu and Ignatius Chombo taking their campaign to the sect’s gatherings to give sermons in praise of their “dear leader”.
Observers said the strategy was aimed at capturing popular personalities’ followers and win them over ahead of next year’s elections.