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‘Usually strict’ Roman Catholic allows Chiwenga’s political campaign in church; VP brandishes Zanu PF fist on ‘holy’ pulpit

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By Staff Reporter


VICE President Constantino Chiwenga, Sunday stood at St. Alois Parish’s pulpit before tens of congregants, wearing President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s scarf and brandishing a clenched fist in what might be a first from the usually critical Catholic church.

Unlike most indigenous churches which have been constantly overrun by ruling party officials, especially towards elections, the Roman Catholic Church had remained ‘sacred ground.’

He was accompanied by his family, security details and Zanu PF party members, some of whom also wore scarfs and brandished their fists as Chiwenga spoke.

The right-hand fist is a Zanu PF symbol, representing resistance and unity from days of its inception in 1963.

Eyebrows have however been raised after the incident considering the Catholic Church’s hard-line stance on Zimbabwe’s administration over the past decades.

“The Catholic Church must not allow its pulpit to be used for slogans by politicians. This is wrong.

“People go to church on Sunday to pray not to be told Pamberi ne Zanu PF! These small handouts given to some privileged priests will cost the church its integrity!” said Human Rights Activist Dominic Nyakudya.

VP Chiwenga at St. Alois church, Chitungwiza

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops Conference (ZCBC) Secretary General, Father Travis Moyo professed ignorance of the matter, indicating he was not in Zimbabwe and would not be able to assist.

“Unfortunately, I do not know anything about it, I am out of the country and cannot be of assistance,” said Moyo.

Zanu PF and the Catholic church have over recent years exchanged barbs in relation to Zimbabwe’s human rights record, Mnangagwa’s poor administration of the economy and abuse of opposition political players.

Zanu PF members accompanying Chiwenga brandished their fists as he spoke.

In 2020, Zanu PF accused the ZCBC of employing then main opposition MDC Alliance to write press statements that were critical of their administration.

Its criticism of the manner in which government had shut down July 31 protests was described as ‘evil’ by Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa.

Users on Twitter tagged Pope Francis, global leader of the Catholic Church in Rome, while raising their queries.

“Churches have become hunting grounds for politicians. Church leaders are so indisciplined and inconsiderate of the people they lead who may hold different political views,” said popular activist Setfree Mafukidze.

“I do not subscribe to any church that accommodates charlatans to speak in front of suffering congregations to suit the appetite of the church leaders.”