Political parties scramble for Christian vote

HARARE - Political parties are scrambling for the Christian vote ahead of the 2018 elections, amid revelations that at least 80 percent of the country’s eligible voters are church goers.

From the ruling Zanu PF party to the opposition, they all have been trying to court Christians ahead of the elections, urging them to register to vote in their multitudes.

This comes as President Robert Mugabe’s wife, Grace, met scores of members of the apostolic sect recently in a move to win their support ahead of next year’s polls.

In a statement, People’s Rainbow Coalition (PRC) — a newly-formed coalition led by National People’s Party (NPP)’s Joice Mujuru — appealed to all Christians to register to vote.

“PRC believes in the coming together of all progressive opposition political parties against Zanu PF’s misrule which has created a Gushungo (Mugabe) dynasty; overriding the country’s fundamental and constitutional interests of freedom of worship and prosperity.

“Therefore, PRC celebrates genuine freedom of worship that is free from the social ills of political contamination by political leadership that seeks to promote self-serving interests of the Gushungo dynasty and preaching of political hatred amongst Christians and Zimbabweans at large,” PRC information department said.

The move by PRC to lure the Christian vote comes after Zanu PF held an interface rally with members of the indigenous apostolic churches in Harare recently.

The party’s women’s league boss Grace conducted the rally, which was attended by members of the apostolic sect.

The church and the apostolic sect in particular has recently become political parties’ favourite hunting ground. In the run up to any important election, Zanu PF politicians are well-known for trooping to church services convened by the various sects to win their hearts and minds.

One of the most enduring images remain that of Mugabe beamed on national television in 2010 while donning white garments and holding a knobkerrie at a Johane Marange shrine.

Last year, State Security minister Kembo Mohadi torched a social media storm when a video of him attending controversial Malawian preacher Shepherd Bushiri’s church service where he was told he was destined for higher political office leaked.

Recently, church leaders have been taking a keen interest in Zimbabwean politics, with some calling for active participation of the Christian community in the determination of the next country’s leader.

Recently, businessman Shingi Munyeza appealed to Christians across Zimbabwe to participate in the country’s politics by registering to vote in next year’s crucial elections.

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