Excommunicated Anglican Church Bishop, Nolbert Kunonga, who is now running the independent Anglican province of Zimbabwe has assumed the role of a “Zanu PF commissar and is behaving like a party spokesman”, a political analyst and a Cabinet minister have said.
This follows Kunonga’s open declaration of his support for President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF in the next elections before describing Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and MDC-T party as an “embodiment of evil”.
His comments came at a time the Organ on National Healing Reconciliation and Integration and Global Political Agreement principals were trying to promote peace and tolerance.
In an effort to foster unity and tolerance ahead of elections, which could be held this year, the principals have indicated they will hold joint rallies.
Kunonga described the MDC-T as evil, accusing the party of promoting homosexuality and working against the people by campaigning for sanctions and resisting the black economic empowerment drive.
“Those politicians and churchmen who are calling for the imposition of sanctions, propagating for the inclusion of gay rights in the new constitution, and refusing to see life, are an embodiment of evil. During elections we will reject them. We will reject death,” Kunonga reportedly said at his church’s annual retreat at St Augustine’s Mission in Penhalonga last week.
Political analyst Charles Mangongera said Kunonga had strayed from his mandate by delving into partisan politics. “I don’t think given the role the church has historically played in political processes in Zimbabwe and in line with international trends, one would expect a church leader to take that stance. I would expect the church to play a peace-building role,” said Mangongera.
National Healing co-minister Moses Mzila-Ndlovu said although Kunonga’s statements were sad, he was not surprised by his declaration as he had previously openly declared his allegiance to Zanu PF.
He said his ministry was trying to work with churches in national healing and was disappointed by Kunonga’s comments.
“He is such an irresponsible person and is highly reckless. He acts like a Zanu PF commissar and there is no difference between what he says and what a Zanu PF commissar says,” he said.
Mzila-Ndlovu, whose party is led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s rival Welshman Ncube said it was unfair for a man of the cloth to label MDC-T “evil”.
“I have my own differences with MDC-T, but it is unfortunate when members of the clergy get involved. If something is evil, it means people should eliminate it and such statements create violence,” he said.