Pope must excommunicate Mugabe

HARARE - Pastor Phillip Mugadza spots a padlocked chain under his clerical collar.

This has become his signature look.

He has spent over a decade preaching the gospel to the Kariba Christian Community Church.

He says he got to a point when he could no longer sit and watch the country being flushed down the drain.

Mugadza has adopted a unique form of activism against President Robert Mugabe’s governance.

He has repeatedly chained himself to rails opposite Parliament, before preaching against the alleged evils of the Mugabe regime.

He believes his role is synonymous with the biblical Moses who led the exodus of the Israelites out of Egypt and across the Red Sea. Poignantly, he says he has taken up Moses’ task to free Zimbabweans from Zanu PF bondage.

“For me, the chains represent the Zimbabwean situation. I feel that our country is in chains owing to the way it has been run by the president and his corrupt government,” he told the Daily News on Sunday.

“I wear the chains knowing that it would take time before police can distract me when I demonstrate. It gives me time for my message to be heard.

“The padlock resembles our destiny, our children’s future, which is locked by a regime that has failed to respect our wishes by ignoring the Constitution and selfishly imposing policies that erode our economy and social standing.”

Mugadza recently staged another demonstration at Africa Unity Square on November 22. Again he chained and padlocked himself to fencing rails just opposite the National Assembly.

He was arrested and detained at Parliament for about four hours before being bashed by plain-clothed police officers while their uniformed counterparts looked on.

The cleric was later advised of charges of criminal nuisance before a court appearance where remand proceedings are currently pending before the Harare Magistrates’ Courts.

He has also chained himself on a pole along First Street in Harare before preaching.

According to Mugadza, Mugabe “compromises with his purported Christian faith as he caused great suffering for Zimbabweans through his draconian rule.”

He called on the pope to excommunicate Mugabe for being responsible for terror, intimidation and political killings. He also accused Mugabe of presiding over a government that “has caused unimaginable levels of poverty.”

Excommunication is the Catholic Church’s most severe penalty imposed for particularly grave sins.

Through baptism, a person is incorporated into the body of the church through which there is a “communication” of spiritual goods.

By committing a particularly grave sin and engaging in activities which cause grave scandal and fracture the body of the church, that communication ceases, and the person is deprived of receiving the sacraments and other privileges.

“I recently wrote a letter to the Roman Catholic Pope and delivered it at the Vatican City embassy in Mt Pleasant asking him to excommunicate Mugabe because what he is doing to this nation does not show that he is a Christian,” Mugadza added.

The anti-Mugabe cleric last month handed a petition to the Catholic Church’s secretary of the Apostolic Nunciature in Zimbabwe, Father Gabriel Pesce, in Harare, for onward transmission to Pope Francis.

“We, of the above mentioned nation hereby hand you this petition asking you to excommunicate the president ...Mugabe. The president tells us that he is a practising Catholic; hence we are petitioning you to help our nation before he fulfils his promise of crushing anyone who dares to speak sense,” part of the petition reads.

While the first word of Christ is not condemnation but a call to repentance and transformation, Mugadza says Mugabe’s excesses have gone too far.

“I feel that my ministry goes hand-in-hand with activism and for so long we have lived under a misconception that it is a taboo but it was just a trick by the regime to make sure that the most powerful entity — the church — remains quiet, pinned to the pulpit.

“…if Moses were here today, I am convinced he would parade a placard written; ‘Let my people go’ right in Mugabe’s face. What I am doing is what God wants me to be doing at a time like this.”

Zimbabwe’s Catholic bishops have also accused Mugabe and his officials of running a bad and corrupt government and abusing the political rights of Zimbabweans in several pastoral letters posted in churches throughout the southern African nation.

Neither Mugabe, a practising Catholic, nor his officials have publicly  responded to the warning from Zimbabwe’s Catholic Bishops’ Conference that radical reforms were needed to avert a mass uprising in the economically-strapped country.

Mugadza claims to have spent nine days walking from Bulawayo to Harare in 2006 during a prayer for the nation titled ‘‘Let’s pray for Zimbabwe.’’

He walked again in 2008 from Harare to Marondera just before the 2008 run-off. He titled the prayer walk, ‘‘Trust in God Zimbabwe.’’

During Zanu PF’s 15th Annual People’s Conference in Victoria Falls last December, he tried to sneak in a placard inscribed ‘‘Mr President, people are suffering.’’

He was manhandled by security personnel before being arrested.

“I was with a friend and felt that it was the most convenient time as Mugabe and his party officials would be present. Unfortunately, when we arrived at the venue, there was tight security and we backtracked,” he said.

“I returned into town alone and started marching, holding my placard. A white twin cab pulled over where I was and I was dragged into the car by an unidentified man before being dumped at Victoria Falls Police Station.

“…for holding my placard, they imposed $500 bail and I spent 18 days in jail because I could not raise that money. They had imposed such a huge quantum to try and investigate if I did not have funders who could come and pay that for me.”

The cleric has been privileged to be afforded the services of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights on a pro-bono basis throughout his court appearances.

“…wonderful people they are. They have stood with me throughout the persecution I have endured at the hands of the government and I thank God for them.”‘

Comments (1)

Just curios what it means for the pope to "excommunicate" anyone. After all, Catholicism and the pope are a Satanic organisation, which has deceived tonnes of people worldwide. There is all kinds of evidence to show that Catholicism is idolatrous and purposefully de-emphasizes the role of Jesus Christ in salvation. I could go on for long time but will stop here for now.

Lawrence - 19 December 2016

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