PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa’s recent visit to the Anglican Church’s Benard Mizeki pilgrimage in Marondera where he begged for votes ahead of the August 23 poll, has reportedly left the church heavily divided with some members demanding a public apology from the leadership.
Disgruntled church members said the politicisation of the event violated their freedom of worship and association, saying they did not want to be associated with Mnangagwa’s failed administration.
Mnangagwa, who was accompanied by his deputy Constantino Chiwenga and Zanu PF national chairperson Oppah Muchinguri, who is also Defence minister, called for co-operation between the church and government.
A former Anglican Bishop said: “The Anglican church cannot be associated with people who have failed to address the issues that are affecting the majority of innocent Zimbabweans. I do not know why the leaders of the church invited politicians to address Christians. The Anglican Church is not a political field. It is a church for prayer.”
Another congregant said the invitation extended to Mnangagwa to address the members was against the church’s principles.
“Long back we were gathering here at Bernard Mizeki shrine but we never invited politicians. Why are our bishops inviting politicians now? We are not politicians,” he asked rhetorically.
Another church member from St Anne’s Goto said: “What picture are they portraying? They want to tarnish our image by dragging politicians into the church. This is something else. We have not experienced this before since I became a member of this church. Let them (politicians) fix the economy first and leave us as clean Anglicans.”
Manicaland Diocesan leader Bishop Eric Ruwona, however, said there was nothing amiss in having their meeting addressed by the Head of State, describing critics of the programme as detractors.
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“As a church we have been praying for the nation and President. We will continue doing that. We will continue praying with the President. What people should know is that he is our President whether they like or not,” said Ruwona.
“When the President addressed us we were all happy. The congregants were happy. Everyone was happy, I did not hear of anyone who was disappointed at all. We have Priests all over the church and we have not heard of the congregants being disgruntled,” he said.
“Who told you that the congregants were unhappy with the address by the President? Maybe you can help us to know those people. Those within the church who are saying they are disgruntled or not happy with the President’s address are misguided. They have got an agenda. They are enemies among us and they are the ones that are divided,” explained Ruwona.