Church mauls Mugabe, govt

HARARE - The increasingly vocal local Church, alarmed by the country’s escalating political and economic crises, as well as the current crackdown on dissenting voices by panicking authorities, is pressing President Robert Mugabe to call for an emergency national dialogue, fearing a repeat of the Gukurahundi massacres of the early 1980s.

In an unprecedented petition that was submitted to Mugabe’s offices on Monday, the forthright leader of Zimbabwe Divine Destiny, Ancelimo Magaya, also warned that the clergy would push for the nonagenarian’s impeachment if he did not heed their call.

This came as police yesterday re-arrested the spokesperson of radical pressure group Tajamuka/Sesjikile, Promise Mkwananzi, as jittery authorities crank up their brutal assault of the past few weeks on dissenting voices in the country.

At the same time, opposition parties — whose planned countrywide protests last weekend were ruthlessly crushed by police — are upping the ante by organising fresh demonstrations in Chitungwiza and other parts of the country starting this Friday.

In his petition, Magaya — the respected and visually-impaired clergyman — gave Mugabe up to Friday to call for a national dialogue which he said was the only way to resolve the country’s deepening political and economic rot.

“Noting the deteriorating political situation in the country, worried about continued curtailing of people’s freedoms by your government, concerned about the socio-economic crisis that has reached levels that threaten the survival of the helpless masses and ultimately the peace of the nation, disturbed by the increasingly restive populace and the brutal show of force by the State’s machinery, we call upon you Mr President to humbly admit before God and the Zimbabwean populace that the country is in a dire situation that requires an extraordinary collective response to rescue it from total collapse that may trigger a regrettable spontaneous civil unrest.



“Open up to dialogue in light of the above. If you fail to address these issues by September 23, we will be forced to exercise our democratic right to petition Parliament to impeach you,” Magaya said.

Mugabe, the only leader Zimbabweans have known since the country gained its independence from Britain in April 1980, is battling to save his long political career as citizen unrest escalates over the ever-deteriorating quality of life locally, which they blame squarely on his misrule.

But the increasingly frail nonagenarian has not taken lightly to the challenge to his power, unleashing the country’s security apparatus on the restive populace with devastating consequences — amid fears that the government may effect a state of emergency to foil further protests.

Last weekend, police and soldiers ran amok in many of Harare’s high density suburbs where they indiscriminately beat up nightclub revellers, before they also ordered the early closure of shops in Chitungwiza.

Authorities also savaged and arrested scores of pro-democracy activists and opposition members coalescing under the banner of the National Electoral Reform Agenda (Nera), who were holding nationwide protests to press for much-needed electoral reforms ahead of the eagerly-anticipated 2018 national elections.

This was despite the fact that demonstrations outside central Harare had not been included in the current police ban on mass action of any kind.

Magaya, who was once severely assaulted by riot police in April 2011, when law enforcement agents violently stormed and suppressed his church service in Glen Norah, said the heavy-handedness of the police when dealing with peaceful and lawful gatherings was a major cause for concern.

He added that Mugabe needed to “repent” and bring to an end the current clampdown on protesters by security agents, which he said evoked memories of the Gukurahundi massacres of the early 1980s when the military butchered innocent civilians mainly in Matabeleland and the Midlands.

“Stop unleashing terror on citizens for expressing genuine grievances. We also want to appeal to your conscience to repent before God for having presided over massacres in Matabeleland during the mid 1980s maimings, tortures, abductions and killings that have become a part of your government.

“On the basis of the prophetic mandate endowed on the Church, we warn that God’s judgment is imminent if you will not repent,” Magaya warned.

Yesterday, pro-democracy groups and opposition parties told the Daily News that they fully supported the calls by the Church for Mugabe to call for a national dialogue.

“The government has in the past tried to counter the authentic voice of the Church by creating pseudo church groups to support the regime’s ruinous policies. The Church has raised the stakes by taking a more active role in national politics and exercise its role as the moral campus to speak truth to power.

“Another key role for the Church is that it must expose the evil and corruption of the government, expose false prophets who prophesy for political factions and profit, and build alliances with regional and international church groups to call for peace and justice in Zimbabwe.

“The Church should focus on supporting the peaceful mobilisation of citizens to demand their rights until Zanu PF relents,” said human rights lawyer Dewa Mavhinga.

The MDC, which is part of the opposition players demanding a raft of electoral reforms, also applauded the Church for petitioning Mugabe.

“The Church represents the moral conscience of the nation. As such, the MDC would like to applaud the church leaders for coming up with a very robust and concerted plan to call for national dialogue.

“The Church has realised that it cannot fold its arms and look aside whilst the renegade, derelict and corrupt Zanu PF regime continues to trash and abuse the rights of the majority of the people. Indeed, this action by the Church was long overdue. Of course, the impeachment of Mugabe has only been one option.

“The good thing is that even the majority of Zanu PF Members of Parliament are fed up with Mugabe. They want him to go. In a secret impeachment ballot in Parliament, we are certain that no less than 80 percent of the Members of Parliament will vote for Mugabe’s impeachment,” said its spokesperson, Obert Gutu.

Since the economy began experiencing serious turbulence, including witnessing banks running out of cash, the government has come under growing pressure as angry Zimbabweans have mounted seemingly unending demonstrations.

Comments (8)

the churches that we know don't support rogue regimes like zanu pf. we salute you for this action for true morality includes condemning heinous acts such as those commit by the current government. any church that supports Mugabe in return for some earthly benefits is actually satan company not a church.

mukovhe wa tsilidzi - 22 September 2016

As we reflect on these noble efforts to make Robert Mugabe's government accountable, I for one am shocked by the pictures of the protesters tortured by our 'disciplined well educated and trained' police force. When will this brutality end?

Viva Unidade - 22 September 2016

Church leaders need to focus worshiping God the creator. How can Africans worship a white Jesus when Jesus was never white? The worship of a white man is idolatry and God says He will punish idolaters!

ADF - 22 September 2016

Not wanting to in any way undermine the courageous efforts of the Zimbabwean Divine Destiny Church we really need the support and intervention of the Roman Catholic and Anglican Churches too but for some unknown and mysterious reason they seem to be focused on other things and not paying too much attention to the horrible suffering and oppression going on here? These Churches and their representatives seem to be selective in what dictators and oppressors they expose and challenge? The Roman Catholic Church in particular is a powerful body with strong connections to most world leaders and could play an influential part in persuading other world leaders such as SADC and the AU to apply pressure upon this evil Mugabe regime? Human rights organisations such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch could also take a much stronger stand compared to what they are currently doing? Right now, none of the protesters, as brave and determined as they might be, pose even the slightest concern to the Mugabe regime.

Mbewa - 22 September 2016

Not wanting to in any way undermine the courageous efforts of the Zimbabwean Divine Destiny Church we really need the support and intervention of the Roman Catholic and Anglican Churches too but for some unknown and mysterious reason they seem to be focused on other things and not paying too much attention to the horrible suffering and oppression going on here? These Churches and their representatives seem to be selective in what dictators and oppressors they expose and challenge? The Roman Catholic Church in particular is a powerful body with strong connections to most world leaders and could play an influential part in persuading other world leaders such as SADC and the AU to apply pressure upon this evil Mugabe regime? Human rights organisations such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch could also take a much stronger stand compared to what they are currently doing? Right now, none of the protesters, as brave and determined as they might be, pose even the slightest concern to the Mugabe regime.

Mbewa - 22 September 2016

The only remedy the president can engage on,is to allow free space during elections times ,as he often didn't do in most recent past elections,allow them space to retire him in 2018.Not to send men to beat them

addmore gudo - 22 September 2016

silly ADF. Another Daft Fool.

k - 22 September 2016

You know Mbewe the churches in Zimbabwe are morally reprehensible. They lack man of honor. Where are the Bismarks, Deutschels, Makandiwa's and Magaya's? They are all quiet busy interested in chasing of money, the latest$10000 designer suits and women. It's sad. We need more Muzorewa's and Mawarire's before he abandoned the struggle.

Sergey - 23 September 2016

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